Mark Twain

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do ...
Explore. Dream. Discover." Mark Twain

Friday, January 9, 2015

Through My Caregiver Eyes: And thus we part

This is the last entry in a continuing series called 
Through My Caregiver Eyes.  
The full story of 8 years as my mother's caregiver 
can be found under the label "Through My Caregiver Eyes."
 (Label Section to the right of my blog posts.)  

My mom was 88 years old at her death.
The rocky path from independence to living with me, then assisted living
and finally nursing home care is documented in this series.  
While our journey together is peppered with joy-filled moments,
 it tells of many losses for her and sadness for me. 
For anyone who is a first line caregiver of a loved one, 
you may see yourself in my story.

A last letter to my mom.

Dear Mom,

How I miss your sweet smile.

Every day I think about you and wonder how you are doing.  Every day I think it is time for a visit with you and then remind myself, you are no longer on this earth.

My time at your side began 8 years ago when you moved into my home.  Neither of us fully understood how difficult this last journey would be.  Thankfully we didn't dwell on what could happen.  Life is a process and we just kept moving forward through it.

You were there during my growing years when living in a dysfunctional family was very hard - and I was there during your declining years when increasing age took so much away from your joy of living.  There is no one I have shared more of life's struggles with than you.  Through it all you showed how to keep moving forward through the hard stuff while still enjoying the simple pleasures.  I feel so much in your debt.

I am changed by this whole experience.  How remarkable is it that my personal plans and desires could be so dramatically altered by taking this journey with you.  Nothing I could have imagined for myself would have equaled the the importance of what I learned at your side.   The real diamonds of life are time with family and giving of yourself when it would be easier to walk away.  I wasn't born knowing that stuff - learned it from caring for you.  

Oh, the last 8 years were not without our personal disagreements.  Those bumps in the road were rocky at times.  But it never derailed you and me.  I lived the last 8 years knowing this day would come when you would be gone.  I worried that I would look back and wonder ... could I have done more or something different.  My motto became - Have no regrets!  I have looked back.  There was nothing left undone or unsaid between us.  I loved you, mom, without reservation or conditions.  I accepted your strengths and weaknesses and learned from them.  I met every challenge and pushed every boundary on your behalf.  No regrets.  I am now at peace.

I know you would be happy to know I am fine today.  Sometimes missing you suddenly catches me unawares and the tears begin to fall, but that is normal.  You have moved on and so must I.

Thus we part company in this life.

You are loved, mom.  You still hold a place in my heart that no one will ever dislodge.  You were there when I took my first breath at birth and I was there for your last breath in death. I hope when I take my last breath, you will be there with that sweet smile to help me find my way.

Love you always,
Retired Knitter


  1. Your Mom is smiling down upon you Elaine. And I am sitting here wiping away my tears and thanking God that I can still go visit my Mom today even though she may not have a clue who I am.

    1. You are right to cherish all those moments with you mom now when she needs you most. It is not about her knowing ... it is about you knowing and remembering. And give her a hug. They don't forget touch. She will know you in the deep recesses of her being.

  2. Very moving. I wrote a letter to my Dad when he died because he became ill so quickly that we couldn't say goodbye. Don't tush trying to get back to normal. It will happen in its own time.

    1. True ... normal happens when it happens. And since I don't really know what my new normal is just yet, it will probably be a surprise for me. :-)

      Now is the time for sorting out her final affairs.

  3. Beautifully touching piece. It is still possible to feel your Moms presence. I have often had a lovely visit with a departed family member simply by sitting quietly with my eyes closed and letting the memories surround me with their essence.

    1. Thank you, Delores. I have been told we look alike more times than I can count. I know that my emotions and disposition are very similar to hers. Sensing her presence? Not that I have ever experienced with other departed loved ones, although my daughter has expressed similar sentiments. But I know she already gave me the best of herself - both genetically and by example so I am content.

  4. Elaine, what a lovely heartfelt letter to your mother. I am sorry for your loss but how fortunate you were to have so much time with her even if it wasn't always easy.

    1. Lois, that is the heart of the matter! I was there. It is a hard road to walk but being there is just what it is all about in life - nothing else counts for as much as the gift of a person's time.

      Thanks for stopping by. I enjoy your blog a lot.


Yes, you do want to comment! I can see it in your face:-)