Life moves on one step at a time.

As most of you know, my mom passed away last month after battling Alzheimer’s disease.

I’ve been told that grieving the loss of a loved one is a process… a long one and a never-ending one. This is a concept, however, that I am struggling with big time. My personality is one that likes to go burrow away somewhere, feel the pain all at once and then be done with it. The whole, sitting with your feelings idea isn’t something I’m a fan of. I’m more of the rip-the-bandaid-off-now-so-I-can-feel-the-pain-and-move-on kind of girl. But grief isn’t like that. Grief is one of those things that comes in waves. Some days it’s like a bell-curve… you don’t really notice much and then BAM, you get hit hard with it. Other days, it’s more like a heart-monitor…. little blips throughout the day.

My girls are still struggling which of course is hard for me on so many different levels. We’ve had a lot of rain here recently, and one day we were driving in the car and my oldest saw a break in the clouds where the sun was shining through and she said, “Look, Mama! Do you think Nunna is sending us a sign?”. They still ask me why she can’t be here, why she had to die, why other kids get to still have all their grandparents and they don’t. I tell them that I don’t understand it either. That God has a plan for all of us and his plan was to take her on September 3rd. That sometimes people’s bodies (and minds) wear out faster than their souls do. Ultimately I tell them that I just don’t know why.

When you lose someone you love, you are left with a hole. A big, painful, confusing hole that nothing can fill. And this hole leaves you off-balance… not quite as steady as you once were. And it’s not something that most people around you notice… it’s one of those things that you feel as you move through your days. And it doesn’t go away.

I’ve decided that I am really, really pissed off at this disease that took my mom’s life. This ugly disease that robbed her of her dignity, of her memories, of her emotions, of her mobility, of her personality, and ultimately her life. I hate it.

I started doing the Alzheimer’s Association Memory Walk last year after my mom was diagnosed. This year, it was harder for me. I almost didn’t even go. I didn’t even start to fundraise until a few weeks before because I just didn’t know if I could bring myself to do it so soon after she died. Ultimately, I decided that it was a good way to honor her… to raise money to fight this disease I’m so pissed off at. But mostly to do something for my mom.

So we went. It was raining on and off the whole time. It was cold. My kids were whiny and tired. And so much of it was depressing as hell… seeing all those people wearing their signs “in honor of” or “in memorial of” a loved one with the disease. Hearing stories of people who were caring for loved ones who didn’t even recognize them anymore. Realizing that there is no cure.

At the end, though, they announced that the total money raised for our one event that day was over $250,000. That’s HUGE. And the $1,000 I raised helped with that.

(Photo taken and edited in iPhone)

My girls walked in the rain for their Nunna. They’re still pretty young to understand why we do the walk, why it’s important to fight against this disease. But at one point during the walk, my oldest daughter turned to me and said that if I ever got sick with Alzheimer’s, she would do the walk for me. I fought back my tears and hugged her and told her that I loved her and that I hoped that we would find a cure before that could happen.

One step at a time….

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Diane - October 25, 2010 - 12:36 am

You express the feelings so many of us have, whether the disease is Alzheimer’s or something else. Keep writing down your feelings. It is a good way to let out those feelings and to continue on the grieving journey. It lessens even if it never leaves.

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