Archive for January, 2013

A Tribute to a Dying Mother and a Living Daughter
January 29, 2013

My dear friend TJ’s mother passed away last month. TJ, not only as her only daughter was her only child. She helped her Mother adjust to a new life living close to her after over 45 years apart.  She helped her in her declining years. She was not only the Mother to her own children but assumed the role of Mother to her Mother. It is a difficult role that many of us have maneuvered and are maneuvering in the face of Dementia that holds the souls of our elderly parents.

 

There is a unique difficulty in being a daughter of a Mother who is fading into Dementia or Alzheimer.  They are not the women or the Mothers we knew. We do the best we can and keep them as happy as we can. What else can we do? Support from our friends helps.

 

I was so very touched with the following piece that TJ wrote about her Mother that I asked if I could include it in my blog. I think TJ beautifully captures what many of us feel. It strikes a chord with me and maybe with you too.

 

 

Jean Florence BrowningImage

May 22, 1930- December 17, 2012

 

“Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.”

What a load of crap.

Obviously words are powerful and can do serious damage. Everyone knows it.

But what has become abundantly obvious to me over the last weeks is that words have the power to heal and soothe. 

 

At first blush they seem to just bounce off the pain with no effect.  However, when the loving, soft words are repeatedly offered, “you were a good daughter”, “you really tried to give her a great life”, “you provided her such joy”, the words slowly sink into the heart and waves of comfort start. The healing begins.

 

My mother had a difficult life.  She was a fragile soul who never recovered from her son’s death over 50 years ago.  This timid, frightened woman was baffled, surprised and wary of the strong willed, vocal daughter she birthed.  Our relationship was not an easy one.  We were such different women in such different times.  Yet we tried.

We were marginally successful.

We tried.

 

However, I didn’t try hard enough. I have regrets.

Regrets can eat you alive.  In sleepless nights they can multiply in a blink of an eye. 

“I should have been more patient.”  “I should have been more understanding.”

With regret comes pain.

 

Yet everyday, many times a day, almost like a relentless attack on grief, soft comforting words would come.

They would arrive daily in the mail.  The voicemail would overflow with them.  They would appear with a knock on the door. With hugs, kisses, visits, offers of help, the relentless defeat of grief was underway.

There are days when it seems the battle is won and grief is defeated. But victory is fleeting.

 

I am grateful and humbled by all the kind and loving gestures of sympathy offered to my family and I.  I apologize to those of you who did not get a call back or acknowledgement of your kindness.  Some days were unbearable for me.

It has taken awhile for me to appreciate all your efforts.  There were many days I preferred numbness to feeling.  Yet your relentless love and kindness has seeped into my soul and I am feeling comfort.

 

Words may not break bones but they can heal hearts.

Thank you for your love, your kindness and most of all for your words.

 

Teresa Jean BrowningImage

 

 

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