When Labor Day approaches, we all assume summer is over.
However, according to the calendar, the first day of Autumn is not until, September 22nd, giving us 19 more days of summer, despite the chill in the air. If you go by the meteorologist calendar, Fall began two days ago on September 1 and will last until December 1st when they will pronounce it is Winter. Oy vay, doesn’t anything ever stay the same? And the answer to my rhetorical question is NO and we wouldn’t want it to!
A year ago, one day blended into another, in fact exactly one year ago today my mother had lived thirty days longer than her doctors expected she would. My mom was rallying beyond expectations, and although drifting in and out of dementia, she was still the matriarch of our family both on the Moss and Freedman side as she was a survivor at 96 ½ years young.
Mom suffered a stroke on August 2, leaving her blind, yet her brain told her she could still see. On the advice of her medical team, we were advised not to mention her blindness as she would not be able to comprehend it. Therefore we went with her sightings and followed her lead until the very end on October 11, 2016.
Last year, I moved into my mother’s apartment and spent day and night by her side. During the day, we had excellent care workers through JCare at Jewish Senior Life in West Bloomfield where my mother lived in an independent apartment. It was our choice, my brothers and I that mom should live out her life at home. These loving women were compassionate, empathetic, and cared for our Dvasha with dignity. Not only did they care for our mother in this manner, but they care for all their seniors and their family members as if they were their own family. Sadly, I cannot say the same for the many care agencies we used for our night shifts and the individuals I had to fire for abusing my mother or sleeping on the job, or just not showing up. What I learned is that we must advocate for those we love and prepare for our future as well. This is one of the reasons why newclevelandradio.net will be introducing, “Senior Moments” scheduled to premiere at 5 pm on Monday, September 11th.
One year ago, I did not know if it was September 3rd or 4th or Sunday or Monday. I left my husband Richard and my son Alex behind in Cleveland. When I could steal a day away from my mom without feeling guilty or fearful, I would go home for a day of what I thought would be a rest, but more often Rich or Alex would drive in to see me. Leaving my mom was too stressful, I needed the time with her to share stories and remind her how much she meant to me.
What I remember from the time spent with her is she would tell people she had six children. When she named them, she would say; Joel, Joel, Gary, Joel, Joel & Gittel. When asked who Gittel was she would say her daughter. When you would say don’t you mean Karen, she would say who would name their daughter Karen? If you asked about KIKI, my nickname, she would say, oy vay, was she a handful. But Gittel was her daughter. However, when I would greet her every day and say good morning momma, it’s Karen, she would say, “Hi KIKI, when did you get here?” What I would give to hear her say that again!
I took 2 ½ months to spend by my mom’s side. I shared my life with her, the caregivers, my family, the spiritual community as well as in my blogs in hopes that it would get easier. Here I sit today wanting to cry while finding my eyes dry and my chest hurting. It is almost one year since she is gone and I know what day it is, and I am moving on. But I still hurt. I was blessed I had my mother in my life for a very long time, but it still doesn’t it make the loss any easier. It is just the new normal.
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