I took a shirt from the hanger, held it up then threw it on a pile in the corner of the room. I went to the next shirt and did the same thing. I repeated this task until I finished inspecting all the clothes hanging in the closet. As I did this, mom stood behind me watching as I decided the fate of her clothes.
Mom can no longer wear clothes with buttons or zippers. When dad asked me to go through her clothes, I was not prepared for the wave of emotions that rushed over me. My heart cried for mom – the woman who was always there for me when I needed her and showed me how to love the Lord.
It’s been several years since I cleaned out mom’s closet. As the disease progresses, our roles have reversed. I am now the caregiver and she is the child.
This past Saturday we celebrated mom’s 69th birthday. I picked her up early from the nursing home. The nurses know I arrive every Saturday morning and are kind enough to have her dressed and ready. They wished mom a happy birthday, making her smile.
At home with dad and my sister, we let her open gifts. Dad bought her a dress, my sister gave her a hat and I made her bracelets. She changed into her new dress, and with her hat and bracelets, danced to Elvis tunes with dad.
We had an early dinner and afterwards, things calmed down. We were watching television when dad noticed mom was not in the room with us. I went into their room to find she had climbed onto her side of the bed and fell asleep. I covered her with a blanket and closed the door. I guess all the dancing made her tired.
When she woke up, we had cake and ice cream. Mom loves her sweets and ate all that was on her plate. Afterwards, we went outside to visit with other residents. Even though mom cannot talk, she loves socializing with them. She will shake their hands with a big smile. They all love her.
Our celebration for mom was small. It was just the four of us, but I will always remember it. For a few hours, we relaxed and enjoyed our time together. And nothing else mattered.