Last week my husband's mom passed away. She suffered with Alzheimer disease for over 15 years. We had her up here, close to us for the past 3 years. We could BE with her. Smile with her. Hold her hand. Talk about her farm days. The chickens, the cows, the popcorn she ate with her dad. She didn't know who we were. Not by name. Not by face. But she could FEEL us. We knew that. For sure. When she could speak she told us at her 90th birthday celebration at the nursing home, "I like what I see" - my husband holding her hand, smiling his gentle warm smile at her - her grandsons, 9 and 6 playing around her - and me, leaning toward her, rubbing her shoulder. That will forever remain with me.
Interesting when someone close to us passes - we can, if we choose, to see ONLY love. She was difficult to be around 15 years ago. We didn't know she had the disease. My husband's dad didn't want to burden us. When his dad passed away, my husband became her POA. We found out then - that it was Alzheimer.
The first six months she was here, we all played! Took her to lunch, sang songs with her, brought her to church with us each week, went to the park, festivals, had her at our house, read to her. The boys jumped all over her. Crawled in her lap. She read them stories. Told them stories. It was so wonderful.
She didn't remember us after a while. We were prepared. We had fun with it. We'd repeat the same things over and over and then tease her. We could always get her to laugh.
And eat chocolate!
That woman LOVED chocolate. She couldn't remember our names, our faces, but give her a piece of chocolate - and she'd smile and say, "luscious!"
Bluish purple was her favorite color. Her finger nails were painted a bright fuchsia color, lipstick on her lips, earrings dangling from her ears. She was one of those gals who embellished her clothes, her jewelry, even her plain pillow cases. She HAND MADE dozens upon dozens of quilts. She crossed stitched, embroidered, knitted, crocheted and painted. She played the organ, the piano and directed the choir at her church in her little town. She made banana bread unlike any other I've ever eaten. It didn't turn dark brown and it didn't have all those brown specks in it. It was light and fluffy. She served her church, her family and her friends to best of who she was. She was a proud woman.
And the best part.
She and my father-in-law adopted my husband as a baby and raised him and loved him. I will be forever grateful for that gift. He is truly one of the best men I know. In spirit. In kindness. In care. In manliness. In respectability. In honor. I have never met a better man.
Thank you, Mom, Momma, Grammy, Grandma Beryl, Honey for who you were and for being here for all of us. You will be missed.