My First Year Without Mom

Mom Preggers
Mom preggers with me

Today couldn’t be a more beautiful Spring day…a day fitting for my mom who had such a beautiful spirit. And on the one year anniversary of her passing, somehow the beautiful weather helps in remembering her.

It’s been a fast year, the beginning days without her are still blurred to me, but as time went on days started falling into focus allowing me to begin the process of thinking of my next in life. As mom’s caregiver, I started to let go of thinking in a future direction, as I was just trying to get through to the next day. But this major change placed me right at the fore-front of OK, now what?

Even as I gained clarity, I’d still have foggy days from tears because I couldn’t understand why she had to go? and why am I without parents? My greatest cheerleaders in life are gone and I’m still at, now what? That “what’, is clinging onto one of my favorite bible verses, “ in the Lord with all thine heart and lean not on your own understanding….”. And so I’m clinging to my parent – God the Father – for understanding.

Losing a parent leaves you with rational and irrational thoughts. As much as I know I was loved and wanted, and that I will forever be Harry & Susan’s daughter, I have my days when I feel as if I am no one’s daughter, an orphan. That’s when the rational kicks in to save the day, to remind me that even without their presence, I will always have the legacy of wonderful blessings, memories and experiences that fill me up and give me strength.

My year of adjustment has been being in a card store feeling torn because of the realization that cards are now exchanged for flowers on a grave, and working through unexpected feelings of hyperventilating when walking into a store I used to go to for mom and getting over the first big cry in a dressing room because when I needed help with a back zipper, my mom wasn’t there to help me. It’s the unknowing things that can hurt the most.

And though these days are still finding me in the midst of transition, today I am OK. It doesn’t mean that I miss my mom any less, but that I am in a good place looking forward to being in a better place. There was a time I when I wouldn’t be so strong in that conviction, but I am now and I am ready for my next in life.

Being my mom’s caregiver was a role that was very humbling, one that I never saw as a task but rather as my turn to give back to the woman who had given me so much. And those challenges of yesterday, have harvested some amazing opportunities for me today, such as being recognized as the Most Influential Caregiver and writing for Maria Shriver.

Because of my mom, I am a better person…and a Delta, because of Alzheimer’s I am a better advocate, because of the support of those in my life, I know I am loved and because of God I am all the more stronger for having these experiences. The journey after a loss is not always easy, I’m still on this path, but if you’re at the beginning, I promise the days ahead will eventually become more joyful and less tearful.

I miss my Mom….but I am very thankful for having such a wonderful one!



1 Comment

  1. This is so beyond beautiful Pam! I know why you received the award. I also know that your mom is grateful for the gift of you – her daughter – and in the beautiful, loving, graceful and dignified way you cared for her. Death of any kind is never easy but loss of a parent is especially hard. I marvel at your strength and am honored to know you.

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