The power of friendship
My Mom, Norma MacDonald died on May 4, 2013. She had dementia ... more than likely Alzheimer's (her doctor claims that a definitive diagnosis can only be made with an autopsy).
Anyhow, Mom had the disease for at least 7 years. Her final years were spent at Carleton Lodge, a Long-Term Care facility in Ottawa. At the end, she was confined to a wheelchair and could only say "yes", "no", "ok" and "Panasonic".
As her daughter and only child living in the same city and her Power of Attorney, it was hard for me to figure out if she was aware of who I was or what I had been doing to keep her comfortable and still enjoying life in a way that she could.
A few days after Mom's funeral, my girl friend Janet visits me. She gives me a beautiful bouquet of flowers and a card. She explains that both are not from her. This a transcript of the card:
"My dearest Lynne, Just a note to thank you for all of your help during the last few years. We were always close - friends even, but during my illness we grew even closer. I know you bore the brunt of my daily care not physical but emotional. You were always kind and attentive making sure I was comfortable. Thank you, thank you... I appreciated everything. Role reversal is a funny thing. As your mother I was proud of you my daughter. As I grew weaker you grew stronger - strong enough for both of us. Remember my love for you is never ending and I will always be with you. Love, Mom. "
Janet visited Mom on May 1. I stepped out to get a tea and during that time, Janet spoke with Mom and told her that she was going to write this note for later. Mom managed a weak "yes" to the plan.
I wish that all caregivers would have a friend like mine. Janet put into into words what my Mom could no longer tell me. It gave me great comfort.