The Gift of Goodbye

Tomorrow is the 15th anniversary of my mom’s passing. Lung cancer. Horrible and heartbreaking and I miss her every single day.   We were so much alike  – stubborn, loyal to our family, and we bickered a lot – ok, we bickered almost every day! But, we never went to bed without an apology and an ‘I love you’.   Over the years, I have lost many relatives, and every death, no matter how old someone is in years, is tragic and sad, and hard. So why then, am I writing about my mom on a blog that is about Alzheimer’s?

Because, no matter how hard her death was, when I reflect back on her last few months, I realize what a beautiful gift we both were given – the gift of ‘Goodbye’….my mom and I spent time talking about her wishes for her care, both what she did, and didn’t want as far as her health care; we spent time talking about her hopes and wishes for her grandchildren; we spent time crying, and laughing and being angry that she wouldn’t see her grandchildren grow; we even talked about her wishes for her funeral.

And, when the time came, my mom gave me a beautiful gift – she told me she loved me, IMG_9723and she told me she’d miss me, and she gave me the gift of goodbye.  Now, go back in time 5 years, when my dad was dying.  There was no laughter…no discussion about his wishes for his care….no talking about his hopes and dreams….and most importantly, no ability to say I love you, or Goodbye.  My dad, who was my mentor, my friend, and who I respected more than I can explain, died without knowing his family was with him, or that we loved him, or without that beautiful Goodbye.

That is why, for the past 20 years, I have been an avid advocate for research, for funding, for support, and for a cure for Alzheimer’s.  Alzheimer’s is an evil, wicked thief, that steals the most precious memories, treasured thoughts, and loving wishes – at the end of the day, when we take our last breath, all the wealth and ‘things’ are meaningless…the only real measure of person, is who they are, and the memories they made….and this monster called Alzheimer’s rips that all away.  I will NOT stop speaking out until we have made some progress – something to help….I won’t even be so selfish as to ask for a cure – how about a treatment, or something to really slow the progression, just SOMETHING to give hope and help to those affected.

I miss my mom every single day, but I rest easy knowing that she lived her life on her terms, and most importantly, she knew how very much she was loved, and she told her family how very much she loved us….Whether you are living with Alzheimer’s, caring for someone with Alzheimer’s, or have lost someone to Alzheimer’s, know that there are regular people like me out there, fighting for us all – fighting to find funding so that we can end this disease, fighting for all the memories, and fighting for all of us to have the Gift of Goodbye.

Please consider a donation, no matter how small, to help scientists, researches, care teams, find that cure….every penny matters….thank you so much for your consideration –  .Funding for the Gift of Goodbye

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