We as a family buried our father eight years ago. As a strong silent man, who was steadfast in his ideals, he passed on his own terms in his own home surrounded by his entire family of six kids and our mom. That loss for us six kids sent our path into a different orbit, one that was centered around our mom as our sole surviving anchor. The thought of never being able to ask his opinion, or hear he was proud of who we had become, would lead us all into a place where mom took on the role of leader of our family.
My dad grew up in a time where men didn’t overtly show their emotion’s. I don’t remember being hugged by my dad or hearing him say, “I love you”, but we knew he did with all that he was. My mom was always the lover in the family. She was strong, and attempted to be stern, but we always knew we could bend a rule into a pretzel before she would really enact a discipline. The threat of the wooden spoon would work until we were five or six, but the reality of the spoon was never felt. With six of us children there was always chaos causing waves in the ocean of our home, but our mom would always ride the waves with a calmness the was unfathomable. To say we were an easy bunch to raise would be a far stretch, to say the least, but mom would say she loved us all equally and that she would do it all again in a heart beat.
A few years after dad passed mom was diagnosed with dementia. As the years passed mom lost almost all of her ability at short term memory. Losing this ability forced us as a family to move her into an assisted living facility. This move was necessary after numerous events where she would forget she was cooking, until the smoke alarms went off. You will never understand how hard it is to move a strong independent women out of her home, against her will, for reasons she can’t even remember. Throughout it all her strength and love for us all never wavered. We now sit and watch her strength deteriorate, along with the hope she would ever return to who she was. We watch our mom’s only remaining brother break emotionally with every daily visit, and I can’t help but hope that I am not the last of our family to remain.
For the past few weeks we have spent a lot of time together as sibling’s preparing to say goodbye to the women who raised us with love and a gentle hand. We reminisce about the past and sharing more then a few different views on how things really happened. During these conversations I am not sure if it is only I who spent part of my time wondering if the bond we share will be loosed by the passing of our mom. If the memories will be just that, and future stories will come through passing conversation on social media, until even that becomes a memory. We have begun to make plans to stay in touch physically, but even in the midst of planning future events, logistics have already derailed this years holiday plans.