Sorry I have been away from my blog for quite a long stretch. I hope this posting will kick start me again to share more musings in the coming days.
I re-read Mother’s Day Musings that I posted May 9th last year. Wow! Can you believe we are still in this soul-sucking Covid pandemic? I would never have believed it possible that the world could be turned upside down for so long. I would have laughed out loud if 2-3 years ago someone had said “Gaye, you won’t be seeing clients in person, only over Zoom and that will last for what will feel like a hundred years”. I MISS MY PEEPS!
Two years ago zooming with someone would have brought to mind a foggy memory of the 70’s hit song “Zoom”, by the Commodores. I had always loved their song EASY, “Easy like Sunday morning,” which it is today. It hasn’t been too easy on my dear old mom of late. She continues to remain in the land of the not quite dead, not really alive state that is dementia. In my mind the worst form of purgatory that is just awful to witness. Loss and grief comes in many different forms, but with Alzheimer’s it’s losing them bit by bit.
Death defying Dottie, Triple D as I have been calling her lately, recently had a respiration incident which would have taken anyone else out, but not her. She had excellent paramedic care and although she has a do not resuscitate order, because she would never want to live the way she has been living, losing her mind and her ability to walk, it fell through the cracks. In the middle of the worst of the pandemic she ended up in the epicentre, Brampton Civic Hospital. After 6 days of being admitted into this very overworked war zone, no visitors or caregivers allowed, she survived and I got her busted out of there and back home. As my husband said, the one good thing about dementia is that she won’t remember how terrified she must have been, lying alone in a hospital with no one to soothe her or tell her what was going on. In anticipation of her return, we moved the hospital bed down to the main floor and put a large TV in front of it. Within hours her amazing caregiver, Hermie, had her hair in curlers and her lipstick on, the most exquisite smelling body lotion slathered on, to somehow soothe her tired soul. I climbed into the bed with her and we managed to polish off two ice cream bars in record time. She was starving. Near death experiences tend to make me hungry too. I have had a few and I always want to eat after them.
My mother made me promise when I was a little girl that I would never stick her in a nursing home and if I did, she would come back to haunt me. She also said that if she ever found herself in a nursing home and they expected her to eat that “pureed sh-t” she would spit it out at them. The hospital staff had been trying to give her what my mom affectionately calls “baby diarrhea in a bowl.” I know this because one of the great doctors who was looking after her phoned and said she was refusing all food and what should they do? I laughed and asked if it was gourmet puree, and they laughed back, a marvel with the overworked state that they are all in, and said yes it was, as they were afraid solid food would cause her to aspirate. I said give her some ice cream bars and she will be fine. That was against protocol so she had to wait for a while.
A friend of mine Sonia, who actually created this beautiful website for me is going through the sad experience of her mom dying. She gave me the most wonderful idea – watch Mr. Bean as she does with her mom. Mr. Bean is fantastic. He is basically non-verbal and you don’t have to follow any verbal dialogue that can be very confusing for Alzheimer folk, so we now eat vast quantities of ice cream bars, only the very best kinds, and I am getting caught up in all the Mr. Bean shows I used to watch long ago with my kids.
Oh, how we come full circle with our mom’s. It wouldn’t seem that long ago to her that she was changing my diapers, feeding me gourmet puree, and fiddling with the rabbit ears on our old television set, so I could watch Leave it to Beaver in all its’ black and white, kinda fuzzy, glory. How the time passes. It feels like yesterday I had my own babies to take care of – feeding, diapering, celebrating the wins, hugging the hurts away. Unlike the busyness of parenting your own I can now take the time to sit quietly and watch Mr. Bean go on his adventures. I laugh a big belly laugh when he is being ridiculous and then laugh even more when I can see my mom able to track the show and the humor, and for a brief moment make the brain synapse connection appropriately and instead of looking stricken and so overwhelmed by the realizations, fleeting now, but the understanding that she is missing what she was and what she knew. Mr. Bean and laughing with her is mindfulness in the moment.
The very best thing my mother ever did for me was to have the foresight to buy a family cottage, a meeting place, in 1972. My siblings and I got to grow up in nature, by the water, two important features for my mental and physical health today. This purchase was an opportunity for 5 children, 12 grandchildren and 11 great grandchildren to come together and have time to forge memories that last a lifetime. My mom’s face still lights up at the word cottage, her happy place. Although she struggled with depression her whole life, she came alive there surrounded by her family which meant everything to her. She taught me the gift of being present, especially over a Scrabble board, and that the best present we can ever give to our children is our presence.
The best present I can now give to my mom this Mother’s Day is climbing back into that hospital bed, holding hands, watching Mr. Bean, and eating ice cream bars. It doesn’t matter that she won’t remember me two minutes after I leave. Deep in the recesses of a mother’s heart all the love and memory of a lifetime resides, and even when dementia eradicates memory, I have to believe that the love between a mom and her child remains firmly in place, forever.
Happy Mother’s Day.
Carolyn · 9 May 2021 at 10 h 44 min
Gaye Gould · 9 May 2021 at 19 h 02 min
Thank you for always being there for me to help me to make the best decisions around mom’s care. You are wonderful!!! xoxoxo
Sandra · 9 May 2021 at 11 h 12 min
Lovely! Looks like the beginning of another chapter in your book.
Gaye Gould · 9 May 2021 at 19 h 01 min
Thanks fabulous mama. xoxo
Darlene Josephson · 9 May 2021 at 11 h 32 min
That writing was so beautiful Gaye! Your mom and you look so beautiful in your photos. You are truly creating fond memories with your mom. You are an amazing daughter and your mom is so Blessed to have you, and you are so Blessed to still have your mom with you this Mother’s Day!
So wonderful to have your cottage. Yes, there is something special about being in the trees. “Tree Bathing”. We did not have a cottage when I was growing up, however, we went camping every year.
Happy Mother’s Day Gaye, to you and your Sweet Mama! 🌸🌸
Gaye Gould · 9 May 2021 at 19 h 00 min
Thank you so much Darlene for your wonderful reply. I love camping! There is something so soothing about being in nature. I think it has to do with the trees and their roots and feeling so grounded. Happy Mother’s Day to you.
Lori Bassett · 9 May 2021 at 11 h 47 min
Wow Gaye that’s such a heartfelt, wonderful blog to share on Mother’s Day. Your mum is so beautiful and clearly was an incredible, giving mother. Thank you for sharing such wonderful memories and the tip about Mr Bean. Being able to bring joy to someone with dementia is a beautiful thing. You are always so thoughtful 🙂
Gaye Gould · 9 May 2021 at 18 h 56 min
Happy Mother’s Day Lori. Jamie is one lucky guy to have you as a mom. xoxoxo
Leslie · 9 May 2021 at 12 h 02 min
Simply beautiful. Like you. You write so wonderfully We can walk within the story Gaye. Mother’s Day love to you and your Trooper of a Mom!
Gaye Gould · 9 May 2021 at 18 h 55 min
Thank you Leslie!!!
Where are you?? I miss you! Thank you for your beautiful words.
Brenda · 9 May 2021 at 12 h 20 min
You capture beautifully the unconditional love between mother and daughter. Wiping away the tears.
Gaye Gould · 9 May 2021 at 18 h 55 min
Ahhhh, thank you so much Brenda. xoxo
Rose · 9 May 2021 at 13 h 20 min
So well said…. you are truly a special daughter!!
She may not remember you… but you remember her!!
Happy Mother’s Day to you both
Gaye Gould · 9 May 2021 at 18 h 54 min
Happy Mother’s Day to you Rose.
Sandra W · 9 May 2021 at 14 h 21 min
A beautiful reflection on time spent with your mom Gaye – holding hands, eating icecream & cuddling❤ Full circle for sure. Your last line holds so true – my mom is forever watching over me & I hear her voice in times of need & joy. Thank you for making her present in my day today 💕
Gaye Gould · 9 May 2021 at 18 h 54 min
Hello dear friend,
They are with us always! And, you more than most, know that my other mother, Mabel, is still there watching over me all the time. Happy Mother’s day to you, an inspiration! xoxox
Kim · 9 May 2021 at 15 h 21 min
What a lovely thing to read today. Although I lost my own mother six years ago, I am still fortunate enough to have my Mother-in-law in my life. She is suffering with Alzheimers as well. Her time is spent looking through greeting cards and paper. Heartbreaking. Glad you are enjoying some special time with your mom, Mr. Bean and ice cream bars. Perfect!
Sonia · 9 May 2021 at 16 h 48 min
Happy Mother’s Day Gaye! I am so glad I had the privilege to make this website for you. As a result, we can all enjoy your beautiful writing!
At the moment I can relate to the fact that your mum won’t remember you being there two minutes after you left. My mum is taking so many different drugs that she’s often in a similar situation… The best thing I can do is to take photos of us and show them to her the next time I’m around. It helps her to remember. But to be honest, I am not doing this only for her. At the same time, I am creating my own album of bitter-sweet memories that will soon be the only thing that I have left of her….
Gaye Gould · 9 May 2021 at 18 h 43 min
Oh Sonia, I feel so sad for you. I know how much you care for your mom and how incredibly difficult this part of life is for the both of you. I am thinking of you and hope that you can gather strength from your many memories and the connection you have with your dear mom. xoxoxoxo
Gaye Gould · 9 May 2021 at 18 h 51 min
Hi Kim, greeting cards are a great way to connect with demented folks. They can read the same letters over and over and feel so good that people are connecting with them this way. They don’t have to know that the card was sent two years ago! Happy Mother’s Day, Kim.
Mark · 9 May 2021 at 15 h 28 min
Wow – I don’t know what to say – except that this insight and caring is extraordinary, while writing about is so engagingly is more than extraordinary..
Gaye Gould · 9 May 2021 at 18 h 46 min
Ahhhh, you are way too kind, Mark!!! You are the extraordinary writer, not me. AND, dear friend, you speak ancient Babylonian!!! A skill that in a million years I could never master. So looking forward to seeing you in the UK as soon as this prolonged period of Covid Captivity lifts! xoxoxo
Susan Lee · 9 May 2021 at 15 h 42 min
Wonderful story and a beautifully written tribute to your mother. Best wishes to you and your mom on Mother’s Day.
Gaye Gould · 9 May 2021 at 18 h 44 min
Thank you so much Susan. Happy Mother’s Day to you!!!! xoxoxo
Ann · 9 May 2021 at 19 h 02 min
What a touching and beautiful Mother’s day message. Although it’s incredibly difficult, at the same time it’s so wonderful to have your mom and share Mr Bean and ice cream with. It brought back great memories of laughing with my mom, (til we cried) at Mr Bean with a turkey on his head, so thank you so much for that, I’d forgotten until today. ❤⚘
Gaye · 9 May 2021 at 19 h 17 min
I LOVE that episode of the turkey on his head!! So glad you had the opportunity to share such great humour with your beloved mom. I know this time of year is always difficult for you You had such a wonderful relationship with her and the memories I hope help to ease the pain of her loss. Thinking of you a lot today. xoxoxo
Linda Henshaw · 9 May 2021 at 20 h 02 min
This is a wonderful post Gaye. At first glance your mom reminded me of Margaret Atwood with pinker cheeks and better hair! The idea of watching Mr Bean is one I told friends about recently and they were going to try it. It’s great how you can write something that is both touching and humorous. I love some of your mom’s descriptions of puréed food and her preference for ice cream bars. It’s also awesome that your mom had the foresight to buy the cottage and passed on the love of nature to you. Happy Mother’s Day and may you always have good quality ice cream bars!
Gaye · 9 May 2021 at 20 h 12 min
Thank you so much Linda for your comments. I so appreciate you taking the time to let me know what you think about my blog posting. I have always believed that humour is the best antidote to deep rooted sadness. I will be always grateful to mom for the cottage, nature and love of ice cream!
Mel Harding · 9 May 2021 at 22 h 00 min
Fabulous you, she realizes more then you know and knows you get her … she loves you very much , oh snd ice cream bars too ❤️❤️❤️
Gaye · 10 May 2021 at 18 h 20 min
Glad you think that!! I do too.
Kim Simpson · 10 May 2021 at 7 h 23 min
What beautiful writing and a lovely surprise to find on Mother’s Day. The compassion, generosity and love you show towards your mom is inspiring. I feel she knows you’re there loving and caring for her.
Gaye · 10 May 2021 at 18 h 19 min
Thank you so much for replying Kim.
Barb Douglas · 10 May 2021 at 7 h 59 min
I ditto the sentiments of all the above comments Gaye. I too believe the mother child bond is unbreakable and transitions through time and space.
What a beautiful idea to watch Mr Bean beside your mom eating ice cream together❣️
Cheers to all our moms who are present with us or in spirit. A mother’s love never dies it just transitions in its presence 🥂
Gaye Gould · 10 May 2021 at 18 h 18 min
I just wish our respective moms could be watching Mr. Bean together, where television reception is always excellent!!!!
Erika David · 10 May 2021 at 8 h 45 min
Such a beautiful post, Gaye, humour and heartache in equal measure, like so much of life. All I kept thinking is how incredibly lucky your mom is to have you as a daughter.
Gaye Gould · 10 May 2021 at 18 h 15 min
You are so sweet, Erika. Thank you. xoxoxo
kim Neuendorff · 10 May 2021 at 9 h 58 min
Gaye – I so enjoy reading your heartfelt blogs that are filled with stories about Life that we can all relate to. I especially appreciated this one as I have promised my Mom that I would do everything I can not to put her in a home and hope that I can hold true to that promise. She will be turning 90 and mentally still very sharp but physically time is wearing her down. Thanks for sharing how Love, Courage, Ice cream bars and Mr. Bean can help us get through these challenging times. Hope you had a wonderful Mothers Day ! Kim
Gaye Gould · 10 May 2021 at 18 h 13 min
Thank you so much for your message, Kim. I do have to say that those promises asked of us long ago can be hugely problematic when the mind or the body or both are so wounded and causing such suffering that it is so hard on them and on the people who care for them. I have a very good friend who is currently 89 and an amazing man. He recently told me that he has done whatever paper work and testing you have to do that if the time comes and he is mentally unable to care for himself or physically he can have medically assisted help dying. It is hard to think about these things, but honestly Kim, if that had been an option for my mom 10 years ago, before this long, long cognitive decline and physical decline began I think she would have wanted to do this. However, she didn’t so we wait and see and eat ice-cream and watch Mr Bean! Today when I was there there is a curious thing happening with her brain – everything funny she cries at and everything serious she finds extraordinarily hilarious. It is a tad confusing……… I shall continue to enjoy Mr. Bean XOXO
Christine Gefucia · 10 May 2021 at 22 h 22 min
Lovely Gaye. Thanks for so honestly sharing your stories…it helps so many as we assist our aging loved ones. Now all I have to do is figure out how to get the really good ice cream bars into LTC before they melt!
Gaye Gould · 12 May 2021 at 19 h 49 min
I am fortunate to be sharing this last years/months/days of life of our parents with you and others. It makes it a little more tolerable. I recommend eating the bars before you get into LTC. Oh maybe that isn’t quite right…….ice packs? 🙂
Carol · 12 May 2021 at 15 h 21 min
This made me teary-eyed and warmed my heart all at the same time. Thanks for putting your experience into words and thoughts that we can all relate to. I miss cottage Dorothy and cottage Jack a lot. ❤️
Gaye · 12 May 2021 at 19 h 18 min
Oh for a return to the good old days. So miss our youth and our parents the way they used to be. Thank you or your lovely message. xox
Lena · 13 May 2021 at 8 h 22 min
What a heartwarming post Gaye! Your mother is so beautiful; you’re beautiful and you look so much like your mom ♥️ A present of presence is truly the best gift we can give our moms in this cognitive state (and really anyone we love). Trying to remember is too difficult and often simply not possible; just knowing you are with her at any given time is what gives her comfort at that specific time, freeing her from the loss and confusion she (and so many others; my mom included, 🙁 with this dreadful disease) must feel. You are both so fortunate to have one other; it’s the journey that counts and not so much the destination. xoxo
Gaye · 13 May 2021 at 10 h 36 min
Thank you so much, Lena. It really helps me to know that so many of us are unfortunately going through this with our mothers , but that we have each other for support.xoxoxoxox