Life with Mom
—-This is a story of a shared life with Mom after her diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease.—
May 14, 2013
These last few months living with Mom have brought about an awakening in me. Seeing things and areas around the house that were my fathers. Cleaning out closets with stored memorabilia from a time long gone. Seeing our old house collapse in an 8 minute video. The latter prompted me to visit the old homestead land, which stirred even more memories.
Mom and Brian went with me. As I stepped on the property, the massive tree still stands and seems like an anchor and a time capsule that connects generations to this historical site. I quietly scanned the land and pictured the crescent gravel driveway that hugged the house. I could make out the swing set area and began singing “Bye, Bye Miss American Pie…” to myself, which is what my sister and I often did while swinging after supper on warm summer nights. I pictured where the fire pit was and remembered when my mother used to sit me out on the little bench before my kindergarten bus came, so the sun could help set my hair that she so lovingly put in curlers.
Mom and I tried to figure out where the back steps into the house were by judging the distance from the garage slab that’s still there. The slab reminded me of the times when my Grandparents would visit, and Grandpa Nap and my brother Paul would sleep on cots in the garage.
I showed Brian the unrecognizable area where we used to build underground snow tunnels in the winter, with my brother Vincent always as the engineer of the project. I explained where our baseball field and little sand pit were, and where Sir Chippendale Brown’s lead was. He was our Beagle who we only had for a month when he got loose and was hit by a car. I witnessed the whole thing. I cried for months, maybe years for my little beagle.
I looked over to the side yard and pictured my father’s garden and the cherry tree. The other side yard brought memories of the outdoor picnics we had when we were graced with company. The lilac bushes are still there. Us neighborhood girls always grabbed a few branches while waiting for the bus in the morning, and carried them around school all day long.
All of these memories are having a calming effect. They remind me of simpler times and the plain fun of being a kid. The endless play with our neighborhood friends brilliantly had us believing that the fun would never end. I can see so clearly now how the idyllic years in that old house were important for a young child’s sense of feeling safe, and how the memory of the good times is a wonderful teacher for the future.
I’m hoping that this slow, mesmerizing spirit lingers for a long time.