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The Eclectic Pen - The Day I Lost My Mother

By: IONE L. (zaneygraylady)   + 85 more  
Date Submitted: 2/19/2007
Last Updated: 2/19/2007
Genre: Biographies & Memoirs » Family & Childhood
Words: 566

  Alzheimer’s takes a person day by day month-by-month year-by-year until the person you know is gone but the progression is so slow you don’t know exactly when the person you love has left. I had been loosing my mother in bits and pieces for a few years, but I can clearly remember the day I knew I no longer had a mother.
I was a late in life child number six out of eight. She had five kids one right after the other took a six year break and had three more beginning with me when she was forty. I was the last girl. This put me in a favored position since I was a very pretty towhead with big brown eyes that she liked to dress up like a little doll. My little brothers were a little hellions and quite a handful.
I was the only girl in the family that lived in town all year. My three older sisters spent as much time as they could with her and my two brothers in town made the usual perfunctory visits but I was the one who spent the most time with her. We had lunch every Monday even before my father died. We all saw the disease steal her sharp mind, but for me it was gradual since I saw her so often.
I’m thankful that my mother chose a retirement home with her own apartment and the backup of assisted living and a nursing home if she needed it. For quite a few years she did well in her apartment. Finally it became apparent to all of us that it was time for mother to move out of her apartment and into assisted living. She didn’t seem to mind the move at all. She still had her own room with a small kitchenette and her own bathroom. It was a very nice place but she couldn’t go out by herself anymore since she was at the point in the disease where she would get lost. We still went out for lunch on Mondays and I would also see her other times whenever I could.
Then one weekend I decided my hair was looking pretty shaggy. It was time for a new hairdo. I wanted to go from shoulder length to very short. I was very busy, summer was coming and I didn’t want the hassle of long hair anymore. I told the hairdresser take it as short as you can without making me look like a man. He did and it was really short but it looked great. I got many complements and was told I looked much younger. I was also happy about how easy my wash and wear style was to care for.
Monday came and it was time for my lunch date with Mom. I went to her room to pick her up and she asked,
“Who are you?"
“It’s Ione Mom,” I answered.
“I had a daughter Ione,” she said.
“That’s me.”
“No you’re not her”
“Yes I am. I just got my hair cut.”
Hard as I tried there was no convincing her that I was her daughter. That was the day I finally lost my mother. We still went out to lunch that day and every Monday until she had to go into the nursing home, but it wasn't the same.If I had known I would never have cut my hair.

The Eclectic Pen » All Stories by IONE L. (zaneygraylady)

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Comments 1 to 11 of 11
Claudia (BrokenWing) - 2/20/2007 9:11 AM ET
heartbreaking. so sorry for your pain.
Cindy D. (sojourner) - 2/20/2007 11:54 AM ET
It would have happened whether or not you cut your hair. It's not your fault.
Marcia L. (Marcia) - 2/20/2007 5:12 PM ET
Your story reminded me of my grandmother, I came home to visit at christmas time to visit my family. I had learned to knit that year so had knit my grandmother a nice warm sweater. She was living in a rest home at that time as her mind was beginging to be forgetful. My mother and I went in together, grandma didn't know her own daughter, but thought I was her daughter and was so happy her daughter had made her a sweater, my mother tried not to show how hurt she was that grandma had slipped into dementia and would never know her again. My mom died at 93 with a sharp mind and a generous heart. She baked banana bread the day before she fell and was unconcious till her death, for all the old folks (she thought everyone else was old).
Ilene H. (PinkSox) - 2/20/2007 9:00 PM ET
I'm so sorry for your loss. I lost my mother twenty years ago and I will miss her always.
Alan (arkrebel) - - 2/21/2007 6:38 AM ET
Very touching Ione. Although I've never had a close relative suffer from Alzheimer's I work in the medical field and have often (too often) seen the devastating effects. A few years ago I wrote a short essay on how I imagined the experience would be for family and friends of an Alzheimer's victim. I posted it today after being inspired to do so by your tragic story.
Jacqueline K. (skel621) - 2/22/2007 9:27 AM ET
I feel your pain. It was not the your hair cut , the caused it.
Terri D. (terrilynn) - 2/23/2007 7:52 AM ET
that was great--very touching. i am so sorry..terri
Marta J. (booksnob) - 2/23/2007 11:37 AM ET
I'm in the initial stages of "losing" my mother, one small piece at a time. It is so very sad.
JOYCE W. (luvthemgoats) - 4/16/2007 11:16 AM ET
Alzheimer’s is a sad terrible thing. sorry for your loss. I hurts to imagine losing my mother.
Elizabeth B. (meowysmiles) - - 6/24/2007 3:00 AM ET
I have gone through this with a few loved ones and it never gets any easier but not yet with my own Mom,right now it is my husband's Dad.I feel for you and I understand,yet do not know how I will feel when it is my Mom,good write.
Judi L. (childofgod) - 11/12/2007 10:22 PM ET
I'm sorry you lost your mother to Alzheimer's. I lost my mom unexpectedly on Mother's Day, May 14, 2006. My nephew went to her apartment to pick her up for her Mother's Day lunch with all her kids and grandkids, and she was lying in bed with her hand over her heart. She was only 71. I miss her constantly, so I can understand how your loneliness set in the minute your mother didn't recognize you. My condolences.
Comments 1 to 11 of 11