Sparked by Words

Coming Back to You

I’ve been away from this blog far longer than intended and was not sure how to return. Still sitting here in my house working at the computer, but not here on the blog. What do I say to those of you who’ve stayed in touch and sent notes of encouragement while maintaining the respect not to ask what’s taking me so long? How much do I reveal, how much do I keep private, even secret?

A long list of topics and partial articles waits to be written or completed. My anemic advice about writing, my head-over-heels book reviews, the Just a Thought series, and the longer articles that peek into my own history or divulge my current interests and run parallel to the subjects of my books. Same-same as what’s been on this blog in past, just more of.

I had a mom who suffered Alzheimer’s disease but my promise to her was to not write about her, her dignity and pride to remain private. “My Mom” in all my articles was someone else’s mom – or dad, husband, wife – in disguise. You don’t know my mom because she wouldn’t have wanted you to see her like that. So I promised her you wouldn’t, even though she was unaware of the promise.

I really wanted to write more on what I’ve learned about Alzheimer’s disease as an observer, as an anecdotist. My studies are personal and also lies. Personal because I sat by her side, watched, listened, interacted, cried, and pondered. Lies because when I told you stories about Mom, I made them up.

You might have figured out that Mom is deceased. Yes. All I’m going to say. Except…

This was not what I imagined when I first announced my Quiet Time. I thought I’d actually have an extended period to contemplate and reconsider, to rewrite my direction, to refocus Mom’s attention.

Death has its own way of reorganizing priorities. Instead of planning new activities geared to Mom’s newest state of presence, I planned a funeral, a shiva, a way to say good-bye, a propensity for getting lost, a need to be forgiven, and a means of going forward.

Today Mom would be 90 years old. A good gift for a 90-year-old might be a coupon book good for snuggles and kisses and walks in the park. A new blouse and a fragrant bouquet of pink peonies. A candlelit cake to defy dietary restrictions.

In Mom’s case a perfect gift would be a memory she could hold on to. Something from her childhood, like the day she glowed in the class spotlight for the story she’d written. Her first kiss, tasted years before she met my Dad. A new dress purchased with money she earned at her teenage job at the five and dime store. Any memory would do, even something I exaggerated or made up. Just to give a memory to someone with Alzheimer’s is the most incredible gift one can imagine.

Pay attention to that word incredible. Its weight throws the scale into panic, its force throws the dike wide open. Memory is the first lost cause of Alzheimer’s disease. Victims make up their lives anew and family members learn to play along because arguing in favor of truth never aligns with reality.

The ninetieth birthday party wasn’t necessary. Mom almost but in the end didn’t get that far. There will be no cake or gifts or photos. Mom was buried in the white lace blouse she would have worn to her party. She looked beautiful, and this I’m not making up. She looked ready to get up and blow out those 90 candles.

I’m coming back now. Back to writing on this blog. Back to writing books, querying agents, pleading for mercy, and all the other mishegoss on the potholed path to publication.

Back, to see Mom in a new light. Happy Birthday to you, Mom. I’m celebrating your life today.

Love you, Mom.

Miss you.

Shari

 

Photo from Bonin-Pratt family archives: Mom, Dad, me at 4, baby brother, Hawaii 1953

 

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Comments on: "Coming Back to You" (46)

  1. Shari I’m so sorry for you and for your Mum. Here am I celebrating my Mother’s 90th birthday whilst you are farewelling yours.I can imagine how special a memory would be to one with alzheimers and possibly even more special to those that love them. I’m sorry you’re Mum didn’t get that final memory but I’m so glad that you have your memories of a time when she did have hers. That is a lovely photograph of you and your family. Your Mum was beautiful. I know you’ll hold her in your heart. Words can’t express what you know you should say at a time like this but know that hugs and love are being sent to you across the ocean. In a couple of months it will be gentle shoves from the rear if you need them to get you closer to publishing. Lots of love.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Dearest Shari, as you know I have wondered and worried about your absence here but didn’t want to pester. I guessed your heart and soul were suffering sadness and loss – I am so deeply sorry about your mother’s passing. You write with such eloquence and beauty about her and her illness, the tiny touches of a memory of her first kiss, her purchased dress fluttering across the post. Memories that fell away from her, memories that made who she was in so many ways. It must be incredibly painful to see the confusion, loss of self that Alzeihmer’s causes…all the time she was surrounded by love. You do right to celebrate her life today … all that she gave, all the love, kindness and joy she spread around her like rays of light. Take good care of yourself, my friend! hugs xx❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    • Annika, thank you so much for your compassionate note. My mom is no longer in the pain that marked much of her last year, and for that I’m grateful. She did give much joy to the world and that’s what I’ll remember.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. What a lovely post, Shari. I lost my mother a few years ago, and it brought it all back. I never stop thinking about them, although my dad died in 1981. But memory lives on. Oh, and so glad you’re back. Hugs 🌺

    Liked by 1 person

  4. lindarkirsch said:

    My dear Shari, That was beautiful. I’m glad to see you sharing your writing again. Remembering your mom on her birthday. Find memories that are happy and dwell on those. Love you so much. Maybe we can meet up next week for breakfast / lunch / tea or (be still my heart) a walk. ❤️ Linda

    Sent from my iPad

    >

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Linda, you’ve been by my side for all this long journey. Thank you. I am remembering all the sweet things about her as I know you remember your mom. Yes for next week.

      Like

  5. Very sorry for your loss. I imagine this is a very difficult time for you all. May you find peace as you move forward.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I am so very sorry for your loss, dear Shari. Like the others here, I kept wondering how you were and what you were doing but didn´t want to intrude. Your post, though sad of course, is very lovely and I´m so glad you´re back again and share with us your feelings, memories and thoughts. I hope the writing goes on well and that it will help you in this difficult time. By remembering your mother and writing about her, well, a version of her, you will never really loose her and keep her memory alive. Sending you many hugs and love!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Sarah, for respecting my need to be silent for a while. There was a lot to process (still doing this.) Mom will always be part of my life. I’m honored that you’ve stopped by here to send your good wishes.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Jenna Barwin said:

    My deepest sympathies, Sharon. You’re poignant message reminded me to grab the ones I love, give them a big hug, and enjoy their company while I still have my memory and they have theirs. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Hearty cheers to your mom, sadness for your loss, and elation that you are back. There’s no template for the first-blog-back-after-a-long-break. Any way works.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Jacqui, for your emotional support – it helps. I wasn’t even sure I was going to post this article. I wrote a lot of poetry I won’t post, but it was therapeutic to get those thoughts on paper.

      Like

  9. Shari,
    As I read all the comments it’s obvious you weren’t not absent at all in thoughts and prayers of so many who love, value and admire you.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Happy birthday to your mom. So sorry, for your loss. I know how difficult it can be. Sending you all the hugs in my heart.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Shari, I’m am so sorry for your loss. I imagine you’re probably sick of that line both said and written. However, I truly am sorry. I am relieved to see you back in the blogosphere. I was beginning to wonder if you have found something more interesting to do with your time.

    I had to look up the word Shiva. In the Christian religions, I’ve associated with thus far, the mourning period it left to the individuals. Some go for years mourning, which I, personally, think is a little ridiculous.

    Anyway, welcome back. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Sharon, my deepest sympathy on the loss of your mom. As you know I went through the same with my mom, so completely empathize with what you’ve been through and what you’re going through. Sending love and a hug to you. And may you find comfort in the memories from better times. ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Shari, I am glad to read you are back (as am I), but my heart goes out to you as you bade your mom her last farewell. To say our loved ones are out of pain when they pass into eternity is our way of easing our own pain I guess, but I do believe they are with God. I would have never guessed much of your writing about your lovely mom and both of your experiences with Alzheimer’s was made-up although very real to others. this might sound strange but I watch General Hospital (many years) and their current storyline is dealing with a father going through Alzheimer’s. True to Soap fashion it is filled with overwritten drama, but the scenarios are real enough and believable, but handled delicately and with compassion. I look forward to your posts about it and other items you share. Good luck being back to the world of writing. Take care of yourself my friend!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Terri, there’s a lot of truth in what I wrote about those who suffer with Alzheimer’s and about those of us who help guard them. It isn’t so much that I wrote fiction, and not at all that I lied, but there were many very private things having to do with my mom that I did not reveal. I made up a lot of names or changed identifiable circumstances, but wrote about actual incidents, in order to describe how chaotic their world can be.

      The commandment to honor our mothers and fathers has to do with maintaining their dignity as human beings and not humiliating them. When a person has Alzheimer’s, it’s easy to dismiss them as being so out of touch that we can refer to them without considering their feelings. This is not allowed in Judaism. I should probably clarify this in a future post. Thank you for pointing this out to me.

      And thank you for your kind outreach to me at this time. I really appreciate your thoughtfulness and love.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. So sorry, dear Shari — wish there were words to express, words to do justice — my condolences to you & yours ❤

    Like

  15. Shari, I read this awhile back and could have sworn my comment went through. I’m so sorry for your loss. I truly hope you can feel my hug. You continue to honor your mother here. Your writing is flawless.

    Like

    • I’m still trying to sort through so much stuff; grieving is a long and rocky process. Hope my mom felt my love. And thank you for the lovely compliment, Audrey.

      BTW, I’ve often watched as the computer gremlins shredded a reply I’d worded so carefully. It happens.

      Like

  16. That was some powerful writing my friend–straight from the heart. That you took your love and pain for your mother, and then turned it into something beautiful, well, that’s a fitting gift to leave for someone who meant so much to you. I don’t want to say much more because my words cannot possibly add to yours, except well done. 🙂

    Like

  17. Shari, your mom would be so proud of you. I pictured her in all of those happy times you describe and in her white blouse. I’m sad she’s no longer in your life but happy you are back to writing and healing. Clare

    Like

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