My Mom

Mom with my second son, Jet. My oldest, Nathan, is behind her.

I have hesitated about writing this. I wondered if I should just keep this treasure to myself. But this morning I woke up thinking about this after a lengthy time of it being silent. This morning, I felt I needed to post it today. Why? I do not know unless someone somewhere needs a message of hope.

I rarely write about my mom. I think because at the time of her passing, I knew exactly where I stood in my mom’s life. I don’t struggle with if she loved me or not because her love was always freely given to me.

My mom was a wonderfully caring mother. We three absolutely adored her. All through life, she was loved by many because of her meek and gentle spirit.

Mom and we three at the start of the Mississippi River, mid 1960’s

Mom lived in North Carolina. My siblings and their families still live there. Many years prior to a diagnosis, I told my siblings that something was wrong with Mom. I could tell that something was off during our phone calls. My siblings brushed it off as simply aging. I understand. Sometimes when you are around someone all the time you don’t notice the subtle changes.

Mom’s 70th birthday

Eventually, Mom was diagnosed with vascular dementia. My brother apologized to me for not listening to me way back when.

Mom was poor and my siblings went through great difficulty in placing her in a facility. There were many hoops to jump through with all the court hearings, testings, and doctors’ appointments. My mom had completely changed from being known as Sweet Helen to a very angry and spiteful woman. It was difficult on my brother and sister as Mom took her anger out on them. I was the good child in her eyes but only because of the 600 miles between us. Our communication was via the phone. I wasn’t there telling her what to do, how to do it, or where to go. We understood it wasn’t really Mom. Not sure that lessened the pain much though. The three of us were her world. That never changed from our births until dementia took control over her mind. We were all she had.

During those trying couple of years, unbelievable things happened. It would take too long and is unnecessary to give you all the details. I will only summarize. Just trust me. They were unbelievable nightmares.

For one Mom came up missing prior to an official diagnosis and being placed in a facility. We had to file a missing person report with the authorities. They finally found her in Minnesota in a city near North Dakota. That’s pretty far from North Carolina. That all happened because she contacted family she hadn’t seen in decades and they believed her her story that we kids were mistreating her. So they took her far away from us. We still don’t know how she was able to manage through airports alone. I can’t even imagine what her journey was like. Or, of her interaction with others. Because she wasn’t officially diagnosed at the time, there was nothing the authorities could do once they did find her. We had to wait for her to want to come home. And she finally wanted to. The people who took her saw her dementia firsthand. They sent her back.

Then after being placed in the third and final facility, she escaped through the only window in the facility that was not secure. That window happened to be in her room. She gathered all her precious belongings and wrapped them up in a sheet. Then she took them with her…out the window. She placed the sheet next to a dumpster. I’m assuming because it was heavy. She walked freely through the front yard of the facility and crossed a street. She went to a house and knocked on the door. When the homeowner answered she stated she needed help. She explained that her kids were trying to put her away, etc. But, as it turned out, thankfully, the owner of the house also owned the facility. So they were able to get her back…and they secured her window. Sadly, the trash was picked up during her little adventure and all her belongings went with it.

After she finally started to settle in there, she kept to herself. She rarely left her room. Not even to eat in the dining room. She grew very fond of an aid named, Jerome, though. He was huge in stature but gentle as a lamb to Mom. He took good care of her.

Eventually, a woman moved into the room across the hall from Mom. She was in stage four lung cancer and Mom took an instant liking to her. This new friend brightened Mom’s days. I think she gave her purpose. Mom would even take her to the dining room to eat. Mom’s friend wouldn’t talk to anyone but Mom.

On Sunday, August 9, 2015, Jerome was walking down the hall when he noticed the friend sitting in her wheelchair in the doorway of her own room. She was waving her arms wildly in the air and speaking loudly, clearly upset. Jerome stopped and asked her what was wrong.

She said, “Don’t you see them?! The angels! They are in the hall! ANGELS! Don’t you see them?! Oh! I missed the bus again!”

Jerome quickly went into Mom’s room where she had laid down for a nap. And…she was gone.

My brother told me this story as we were driving to his home from the airport where he had just picked me up. He was sobbing.

I wrote a letter to Jerome. I thanked him for his thoughtful caring of our mom and I asked if he might write down in his own words, the events leading up to the discovery Mom’s passing, but I never heard back from him. I suppose there are rules and regulations against this kind of request.

The funeral home was very gracious in that they set up a small room so we could see Mom. None of us could afford anything more. But they treated us with such kindness as if we paid full price. The world still has good people in it.

Mom was dressed in pajamas and she looked beautiful. She had the most remarkable expression of peace on her face. It was as though she was having a most wonderful dream.

Mom had been in a place of constant turmoil within her mind. Agitation and anger conquered her beautiful spirit. I wouldn’t wish dementia on anyone. But she finally found peace, and much needed rest.

As I stated at the beginning, I’m not sure why I felt the desire to share this now. Maybe someone needs to hear it. Or, maybe I needed to reflect upon it again.

There is hope. Hope for eternal peace in Jesus. And a hope for angels in the hall. ♥️


10 thoughts on “My Mom

    1. Yes, we did suffer more than her. She really had no understanding of any of it. And, yes, we were so fortunate to have her for our mom. Thanks for reading this and commenting, Amy. 🌸


  1. I think with time comes peace and it was time for you to come to that peace with her passing. Her peace was the day she died. She no longer suffered with the knowledge that she was struggling with her own mind.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Beautiful and moving story Andi that evoked precious memories of my Mom. Thanks for sharing it.

    I’m thankful my Mom never suffered dementia. She was in an assisted living facility 500 miles away, but near 4 of my my other 5 siblings who often visited her.

    Whenever my wife and I would come to see her during her final nonagenarian years she would beam with a “Hello”smile glowing with love. When the difficult time came to leave Mom would always remind me, “Freddy, Christians never say Goodbye, just Later.”

    “Later Mom”, “Later Freddy” . . . the last words we ever exchanged.

    I’m grateful that someday all our “Later”s will be gone, forever replaced by loving “Hello”s as we share eternity together with Him . . . Thank you Jesus!

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: