The Power of Love
I believe the great power of love can bring extraordinary results. The final years of my
mother’s life gives testimony to this belief. She served as an example of how mental
attitude and the love of family allowed her to live fully to the end…
My mother’s passage was gradual. It started with her Alzheimer’s diagnosis in 1994 and
ended with her death December 11, 2001.
My mother was a woman who believed that “God never gives you more than
you can handle” and she lived that fully every day of her life.
She was a simple, quaint and quiet New Englander, the great, great, great, great
granddaughter of Paul Revere. She chopped her own wood and played tennis until she
was 80 years old.
After moving into her assisted care home, her once strong body grew smaller and more
frail. She replaced the ax and her tennis racquet for a crayon. One day I
discovered her upstairs in the activity room coloring in the line of a coloring book with very deliberate care and attention there being nothing more important to her than doing things right and doing the right thing. She was a woman of substance, a woman of her time.
With the passage of time, her skin softened and became thinner and I found myself
reaching out to hold her hand more often. I learned more about her as the roles reversed
and I became one of her many caregivers.
I loved the way she gained pleasure from simple things. The gift of a teddy bear became a favorite friend. She delighted over her grandson’s engagement three or four times as she had forgotten that she had been told.
When she lost the memory of our names she would call husbands “good man”,grandsons “big boy” and her four daughters became “good girls”.
When she talked about her death she said, “When I go to sleep for good, I want to be buried with your father.” She would visit his grave and become confused wondering
why that other woman, my stepmother of 26 years, was buried with him. She did not
realize that she had lived longer divorced from him than married to him.
I thank God we hold memory in more places than in our brain for when we lose the full
functioning of our brain we become pure heart and soul. Our cellular memory takes over
and a touch, a smile, a tear and a song from the past provide us with experiences that no
longer have words. At her grandson’s wedding the band struck up the music and her feet took her to the dance floor to dance with all her grandsons.
She had a good sense of humor and had nicknames long before the Alzheimer’s added to her riddled way of talking.
She was an active mother and grandmother and traveled across the country to attend all of her grandchildren’s high school graduations. When she visited, she had the incredible ability to slip into the rhythm of our lives and I often wondered how she managed to transition from her peaceful life alone to the active lives of our families. She was blessed with grace and acceptance.
She was delivered into this world from her parent’s bedroom in Brookline, Mass. and she
left this world from her own bed in Portland, Maine. She was able to hear the voices of
her two out of state daughters as it was time to say good-bye. When she went to sleep for
good she was held in the arms of her two other daughters and completed her passage
Today, I believe the power of love continues.
Now as I hold the first grandchild in the family I experience peace and comfort as the power of love allows us to pass through the full circle of life .
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