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Dear Mom, You Forgot Me

by Derek Reinhard 5 days ago in grief
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Grief for the victims of Alzheimer's

Dear Mom, You Forgot Me
Photo by Aris Sfakianakis on Unsplash

Before he died, dad said that I had not yet grieved for your passing. That isn't true, I grieved for the 2 years you both lived with Linda and me -- long before your body died, I mourned your parting when you stopped recognizing me as your son, or even remembering my name.

I especially remember the last year when you barely acknowledged me; I was like a low patch of fog drifting through your already overcast mind. The only bright spot in your day was when dad was in the room. You would settle down your restless wandering and sit on the sofa across the living room from him. Often you commented on what dad was watching on television, sometimes explaining how you had been friends with "that man" (the news presenter) when we lived in New York.

You had changed so much from who you were. It's hard to put into words what that feels like--to see someone who is a totally different person than who you knew them to be, and you also seeing me as a complete stranger. It came across all the more painful when dad would talk with you about me, your son, and you would shout out in surprise, "I have a son?!" and still you couldn't see me sitting there at the table with the two of you.

It took 6 months for me to get dad to see that you needed specialized care--long after his own health had deteriorated to where he couldn't give you the care and safety you needed. He still resisted even after the times you wandered off into the neighborhood while he dozed on the porch. I am thankful that our Great Dane, Dino, walked with you; it's like he knew you needed watching out over.

When I visited you in the memory care unit, the sense of loss was even stronger because, even though you could see me, I was just another person in this place where you had a small living apartment and things to do during the day. I was pleased to learn that you very much enjoyed the singing and dancing activities--kind of the ring leader of the forgetful troupe that had become your family in care.

It's been three years since you passed away, and there are still days when I find myself missing you terribly. Your mind failed you in the end, so much so that all you spoke about was your childhood memories--sometimes you even thought you were living just after those times. I, anyway, remember the loving, sometimes kooky, mother you were to me throughout my childhood and teenage years. My friends still refer to you as Mom because you welcomed them all into our home, as well as chaperoned the youth group retreats, led hikes in New Hampshire's mountains, and were always at the ready to chauffeur us around in that yellow VW van.

Your memory loss was a blessing at times as well, when I remembered my angry and uncaring phases, blaming you and dad for things I myself wouldn't take responsibility for. Despite me, you remained a caring and delightful person and a close companion to dad.

The last two weeks were the final punctuation in your relationship with us. Your emotional health declined first and when they admitted you to the hospital, hospice caregivers came, looked at the bottom of your feet (like reading a weather vane), and declared you wouldn't be returning to your bed in the memory care unit. I watched you that day, mouthing to us or someone else you saw in the room, staring up at a point where the wall and the ceiling met, one arm raised, either pointing or reaching out. It was a sad, strange time; almost holy.

When I found out that you had passed away in the night, I must confess that I was neither relieved nor sadder than I had been the previous two years. You forgot me long before you died. This is the wound that will never heal--I never said a proper goodbye to you because that person had left me before it seemed appropriate to say it. I find no comfort in this and probably never will.

I love you, Mom. Rest in peace where you are because there isn't any here.


About the author

Derek Reinhard

Productive like a fox. Crazy about David Allen's Getting Things Done. Writes about everything. Focusing on productivity and self-improvement. See my Amazon author's page. Sign up for a no BS newsletter here.

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Comments (12)

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  • ALISHA ROSS2 days ago

    My boyfriend left me for another girl for some silly reasons. He keeps telling me that I am nothing to him. He said he wants to be with the other girl. that he has no feeling for me anymore. This started more than one month ago. By this time he also speaks to me but not in his own mood or to rebuild our relationship. He does so because I request him to be with me at least for some hours or some minute… we talk only once …but I can’t stay without him. I want him back.. I was really worried and I needed help, so I searched for help online and I came across a website that suggested that Lord Zuma can help get ex lover back fast. So, I felt I should give him a try. I contacted him and he told me what to do, and I did it then he did a Love spell for me. Some hours later, my boyfriend really called me and told me that he misses me so much, So Amazing!! So that was how he came back that same day, with lots of love and joy, and he apologized for his mistake, and for the pain he caused me when he left. Then from that day, our relationship was now stronger than how it was before, All thanks to Lord Zuma. he is so powerful and I decided to share my happiness on the internet that Lord Zuma is real. if you are here and you need your ex lover back or save your marriage fast. Do not cry anymore, contact Lord Zuma now. Here’s his email: [email protected] or WhatsApp him: +1 506 800 1647 https://www.facebook.com/lordzumazuk

  • Losing your love ones is not easy especially your mother. May her soul rest in peace.

  • Carol Townend3 days ago

    I send all my love your way. I love my mum. We have had our issues, but she is my mum at the end of the day. I really feel for you because I couldn't imagine never having my own mum.

  • Joan Gershman3 days ago

    The pain of watching the husband I adored for over 4 decades disappear into Alzheimer's Disease led me to start a website for spouses of Alzheimer patients (www.thealzheimerspouse.com). The issues faced by spouses are different than those caring for a parent, but the disease is the same. Alzheimer's Disease is a nightmare from which neither the patient nor the caregiver can waken. I understand the pain you have endured. After my husband died, I let only the good memories of our life together occupy the space in my head. Your article alluded to some of those good memories with your mother. Keep those alive. They are what matter.

  • Natalia Grin3 days ago

    Talented work. Keep sharing your stories.

  • Shirley Belk3 days ago

    Your story is one that made me wish I was teaching nursing students again. I would have read it to them so they could understand the disease process, the changes the family has to adjust to, and the grieving process. When I write, it helps me to heal. I hope the same for you. Thank you for sharing.

  • This literally brought tears to my eyes and makes me want to envelope you in a bear hug. Having worked with Alzheimer's and other patients with dementia, I can truly understand your anguish. This disease is the absolutely most difficult on families. I wish you can find peace in knowing that you did your best for as long as you could.

  • R.R.Hannaman3 days ago

    Well worded and relatable. This was a similar experience to my grandmother. I felt like her self passed before her body did. Her last year especially last days leading up to it she became a shell.

  • The Dani Writer4 days ago

    Derek, to say that this a heartfelt intimate personal narrative would be an understatement. You transported the reader inside your real-time experiences to feel a pain that could never be quantified. As a reluctant member of this challenging club, I know how as adult children we fought for every moment and every memory, and whether acknowledged outwardly or not, a parent feels that in a deep place that is sacred and beautiful.

  • Thanks for sharing this difficult moment.

  • Great article, I really enjoyed it. keep posting..

  • Very moving. Thanks for sharing this.

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