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Amongst other things, this is a love story.... the theme changes occasionally... this year it is fitness and learning to love yourself.

6 April 2015

Easter without her. #atozchallenge Care for the Carers.

Two days after her 73rd birthday my Mum took her final breath. She had Alzheimers and Motor neurone disease. For her final 3 months I was her main carer. A privilege I am grateful for and will cherish forever. This years #atozchallenge theme will focus on being a carer / care-giver.


Remember to care for the carers.  


Easter without her.


November 1st is All Souls day. Last year I attended the international mass held at the cemetery for the departed each year, with both my parents for the first and last time.  


That day I learnt that Mum knew the words to 'Here I am Lord' by heart in English as well as Italian. Her soft soprano voice touched a chord.  

I didn't want either of my parents to see my tears so I turned my head towards the woman beside me as I fumbled through Mum's purse for a tissue. She starting chatting to me about the windy weather. Through silent tears I thanked her and reminded myself to carry a hanky from now on. 

The church where we held Mum's funeral was the same church she was married in over 51 years ago. The organist knew Mum well and volunteered to play at her funeral. I left the song choices up to her and she also offered to arrange two or three of the choir members to sing along with her. 

More than a dozen choir members showed up. At least twice as many than are normally present for a regular Sunday mass. The priest commented during the mass that he's never seen or heard anything like it at a funeral before.

On our first Easter Sunday without Mum, the church was packed to the rafters... even the mezzanine was full (cliches are allowed when they're true - right? :)

The choir was larger than normal and during the communion they sang 'mum's song' in Italian, 'Sono qui signore,' just like they did for her funeral. 

As soon as the organist played the first note I realised I forgot to pack one of Mum's hankies. I was wearing one of her scarves, so I used that instead. She never did manage to mould me into a 'proper' lady. 

After the mass, Dad and I visited the cemetery and then spent the rest of the day celebrating Easter with two of Mum's God Daughters and their extended families.

The two separate families don't know each other, but each have huge holiday houses in the same seaside town. Lunch at the sister of one God Daughter, dinner with a sister of the other.

Our families united across generations because of the love shared between our Mothers from friendships forged and cemented over 50 years ago. 

On the long drive home Dad and I agreed our first Easter without her was a good one. For me, it was almost perfect. I know Mum would be glad she didn't have to climb all the stairs we encountered. 

I wonder if Dad, whose 80 this year, will even remember it tomorrow. I'm happy to keep reminding him for a long time.


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14 comments :

  1. Thanks Ida for sharing this with us. Glad that the first Easter without her was spent in celebration with good friends and family.

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    1. I really couldn't have asked for a better day, Thanks Susan.

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  2. My wife is a CNA and does private duty home health care. I meet all the clients she has been a care giver to over the years. Glad to see a post on this topic. The elderly are so precious and full of such knowledge and wisdom. Appreciate and love them while they are still with us.

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    1. Hi Stephen - kudos to your wife, it's hard enough caring for a loved one it takes a special type of person to care for complete strangers. Carers are too undervalued, nice to see evidence of one that has a sweet supportive husband. I'm not sure wisdom is something that comes automatically with age, but it is definitely important to appreciate people while they are still alive. Thanks

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  3. Hi Ida - it's good to remember these times - they are sad, yet happy .. and your Dad will remember with your gentle telling. It does sound as though you had a lovely time with your cousins remember your mother and her life ... cheers Hilary

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    1. Thanks Hilary, my God sisters are the closest things to cousins I had growing up, and they do feel like family.

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  4. Hi Ida,

    Susan Scott connected me to you, for I, too, am writing my A-Z theme on being sole caregiver for my mother, who suffered from dementia. My condolences on your losing your mum and not having her physically at your side this Easter, though, she probably was there by your side in spirit. This Easter was my third without my mother. On April 11, 2012, she passed on at 97. So on that date this year I will write my "J" post about her last day in this life and beyond. Music was significant and poignant at both my parents' funerals. I went through a lot of tissues.

    I visited your blog the other day and read your posts A-D. I commented, though I can't find it here. I don't know where it went. Maybe I didn't look in the right place.

    Anyway, thank you for writing about your experiences caregiving for your mum who had dementia; it is good to hear real experiences and not read yet another intellectual paper on what dementia is.

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    1. Samantha I cant find your blog please check in again and leave a link for me - I have checked my moderation and spam folders and have no idea where your comments ended up... i can't find them either. Thank you for commenting today and sharing part of your story I really would love to read more, so hopefully you drop in and send me a link soon.

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  5. I'm glad you Easter went well. Are you saying your dad also has memory problems? Unusual for both partners to have it.

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    1. Thanks Jo and same to you. He is definitely more forgetful, not sure it is a problem yet.

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  6. Im glad you have such great memories and friends/extended family. ..happy Easter .

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    1. Thanks Ms Ivy... i feel very blessed.

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  7. First dates, holidays and such, seem to be the hardest- I've learned that as time as gone on.

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    1. I really don't want to believe that it gets harder, but a lot of people tell me this. I am just happy that our first was a good one... I'm comfortable with feeling sad when the emotion hits me, I've been wearing waterproof mascara for months now :)

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