Mom at 93

0 1 AA photo

Mom as a girl in Paterson, NJ

My mother, on her 93rd birthday, had a lovely, busy day. She wrapped red, white and blue ribbon around a metal frame to make a Memorial Day wreath for next Monday’s USA holiday. She leaned on her walker and without complaint or other assistance made her way down the long hallway to morning exercise and back again to the dining room.

At lunch, Mom enjoyed vegetable soup, spaghetti and meatballs and – after blowing out her birthday candle – chocolate ice cream. Yesterday, at our small family party, she happily consumed birthday cake, several chocolates and a little glass of champagne.

Adjectives that still describe Mom: loving, empathetic, polite (the staff repeatedly tell me how kind she is to one and all), brave, sometimes anxious, almost always positive and always a shining role model of how to live with soul-deep courage and beauty and grace.

0 2 DVE at Sea Girt NJ shore

Working girl, Sea Girt NJ, 1944 – oh those days at the shore

People Mom still knows in person or in conversation: her parents (long gone), me (her only surviving child since 1973), Clive (most of the time), her grandson and – surprisingly to me, because she’s a more recent addition — her grandson’s wife. Mom indicates vague recognition of other names and memories (her two nieces, her Ho-Ho-Kus friend Betty W. & Atlanta friend Edith C.) when we talk simply and quietly about the past.

0 3 DD and GR just two

Mom and her grandson, Ho-Ho-Kus NJ

Mom’s Alzheimer’s is progressing, as it does. I’m no longer able to reach her on the phone every day, our nearly ten-year-old ritual. She no longer remembers I’m calling and doesn’t think to return to her room — often the only time I can get her is just as she wakes up. I try not to think about losing this precious connection.

0 4 AA CSB DD GR May 2012

Mom with her daughter and grandson, 2012

How can I live so far from my mother? The reasons are complicated and some are private. I’ve fantasized for years about bringing Mom to me, first in Australia and now in the UK. Due to many factors, including her need for and contentment with familiar territory and the absence of any other family should something happen to me, I have not seriously pursued this path. This situation, at this stage of my mother’s life, is one of my life’s greatest challenges and greatest sadnesses.

I pray I will know what to do for my mother, what is right and best for her each step of the way as her disease continues to progress. I pray she will remain content and feel loved and cared for by those physically and emotionally close to her.

I thank God for the life and love of Dorothy Dilts.

0 5 dd roses

Red roses for love — Happy 93rd birthday, Mom

God bless you always and happy birthday, Mom.

7 Responses

  1. Lovely, heartfelt and “spot-on”. It’s so hard to know how to do this correctly. You have done the best you can with what you have, and with your life and hers. She would not ask for more. You know I am “with” you on this. I hope your visit is wonderful this time. XXOO

    • Thank you so much, dear Mary! You are truly a compatriot with your own experience with your mom. Really appreciate your thoughts – merci xxxx

  2. Hi Carolyn , a lovely post about your mum. You are certainly a credit to your mum and doing your best .. very difficult sometimes to know what to do. I think you have done right. Happy Birthday to your Mum .. I love her photo at the sea ♥ take care xo

    • Thank you Annie – much appreciated. You’re so right about the difficulty sometimes to know what to do, as I know we’ve all experienced.

      Hope all is well with you! xx from C and C

  3. Are u related to Robert who I believe passed away long ago, who was in my kindergarten class with Mrs Madsen approx 1960-61, HKS Public School. I think I still have our class foto. Terry Suess,, South Florida,

    • Hello Terry,

      Yes, Rob was my brother. He and our uncle were killed in an automobile accident in December, 1973. I have all of Rob’s school photos from Ho-Ho-Kus so there must be a few of you there as well.

      The accident was many years ago but I still miss Rob every day.

      Thank you for asking and I hope all is well with you and your family.

      • I am sorry. After Kindergarten I don’t remember seeing Rob anymore. I went to St Luke’s till 4th grade then transferred back to HoHoKus Public School (thank God), then onto Ridgewood HS. In our class Kindergarten foto, I think I was holding a model airplane. (I am male [you cant tell with the name Terry], born 1956, now in South Florida 30+ years. Be well always.

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