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September Surrender: Day 9

What I’m Letting Go: Matter Over Mind

My family has gotten to the unfortunate place of having to put my mother in a home. Right now, she’d bedridden. She can’t walk. She can barely talk. She can’t feed herself. We did everything we could to prevent this, and now it’s time for the next step. It was inevitable. It all happened so fast. My father and I can’t do this on our own anymore. It’s all for the best. It’s all being taken care of. My family is all on board and is helping get her to where she needs to be.

For years before this decline set in, my mother was telling me how one day she was going to lose her mind. She saw my grandmother go through the same thing after my grandfather died. She was repeating herself and not understanding anything and also had to go to a facility, where she stayed until she died. A similar story for my other grandmother, whose decline was also rapid. She had been keeping herself occupied with the intricate and astounding knitting she’d do, but when her fingers could no longer work, so went her mind.

I can’t and don’t blame my mother for thinking the way she did. She knew it was coming. She’s aware she has Alzheimer’s. What we’re all left wondering is why. Why did it have to happen to her? What caused it? And now I can’t help but wonder if I’m also next in line for this evil, evil disease.

I have to stop thinking this can’t happen to me too, as much as I don’t want it to. Is it genetic? Should I be taking tests? Am I working myself into a frenzy because sometimes I can’t find the right words to say? Who’s to say. This is simply our reality right now. All I care about is if my mom is comfortable and knows she’s being taken care of. And loved. Can’t forget that.

What I’ve Discovered: Somewhere Forever

I saw my grandmother the day she died, though I couldn’t know that at the time. I walked into her room and could tell she was in bad shape. She opened her eyes for a moment to see it was me and gave a small smile, trying to speak, but unable to get the words out. I held her hand and looked around the room, trying to keep things light as I tried not to cry. I pointed out to my mother, who was sitting in the room with me, how Udi (what we called my grandmother) had the cross from her home above her bed, and how she warned childhood me not to bang around because it could fall and crush me. My grandmother didn’t respond. She couldn’t. I just kept trying to stave off how scared I was feeling as she took shallower and shallower breaths.

She died later that day. I was on a plane to Scotland for my friend’s wedding. I didn’t know she had died. No one told me until I got back. I missed the funeral. No one was mad at me about it. But I still miss my grandmother. It’s sad she went out like that, and scary to think my mom might go out the same way. But she never forgot any of us. Like I said, Udi recognized me the moment she opened her eyes. My mom did the same when I saw her today. I suppose it’s safe to say there are things one can never really forget. And a loving family is certainly one of those things. They say we only use ten percent of our brains, and the world’s greatest minds can’t even fully explain how we do so. Perhaps it’s something above any of us that keeps those we love at the top of our intelligence.

What I Hope to Find: A Constant Reminder

“I thought you had forgotten about me,” was a text I received in 2016, to which I replied, “Weird, cuz I thought it was the other way around.” That ensuing text chain set off a meeting that solidified something I knew long before any of that. It started something in me that I felt was so rare, it would be impossible to forget over the next howevermany lifetimes I lead. I still feel that way, even if it’s impossible for me to do so right now.

I feel this about everyone and anyone whose touched me in a meaningful way. Why should I forget all the beautiful synchronicities all of it made me feel? And even if I haven’t spoken to someone in years and years and years, do I just dismiss what they once brought into my life? What if I just don’t want to forget it? Should I not? Who’s actually stopping me?

All this talk about mind and memory just makes me more adamant in finding the one constant that I never have to let go, no matter what circumstances life throws my way. My mom doesn’t forget my dad or me, no matter what. She knows exactly who we are, and how much we love her. It’s nice to have that foundation. I never got mine off the ground. But I won’t ever forget how to rebuild when the time comes. Because it’ll be a new set of tools at my disposal in order to do so. I’ve had to learn a lot with this new life path I’m on. I’ll be ready for anything. And as long as I keep writing, I can keep my mind sharp. Here’s hoping, anyway.

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