LadiesGamers started out 8 years ago as a personal blog, and you might have noticed that sometimes personal stories still creep in. Nothing to do with gaming, and everything to do with everyday life. 9 months ago I made such an article, which you will find here. An article about helping to take care of my invalid mom. Ever since my dad passed away 10 years ago she depended on my brother and me for many things, getting progressively worse herself. Last year she really couldn’t keep on living alone and ended up in a nursing home.
I’m sad to tell you that a couple of weeks ago her days ended. Her mind was sharp as ever till her last breath, but her body gave out. At 88 years old, it had given all it had to give. I was glad that I was with her when she died, and that we were able to say goodbye to her in a lovely service with friends and family. Same as I did all those years ago for my dad I want to share my goodbye to her. (The goodbye to my dad is here.)
A Perfect Team
The last 10 years without my dad haven’t been easy for my mom. His death changed her life profoundly. Not only did she lose her husband after a marriage of 56 years, she also lost her friend and her biggest supporter. Even literally speaking; as she couldn’t walk without support anymore. She had a walker but depended on him to drive the car and take her places. Which they sure did: every afternoon they’d go out. To the mall, to the city centre, coffee somewhere on a terrace or at MacDonald’s, visiting us or other family members. After his death, she couldn’t go out and about as she did when my father was still alive to help her.
You only have to look at their pictures together to understand how she must have missed him. Two such different people, but they complimented each other perfectly. My mom was always the caregiver. Making sure our home ran like clockwork and that it looked pristine. She was a good cook and made sure we always had some yummy snacks on hand. She even picked out his clothes every day to make sure he looked perfect when going to work. He was the more quiet one and brought steadiness with his calmness and ability to handle any kind of crisis. She always saw the glass as half empty, he brought her a more positive outlook.
Proud and Poised
Since he had gone, she depended on us as her children for that support. And though we lovingly fulfilled that part, it wasn’t always easy. We got her undying love and council but also had to try to help her with her sadness and frustration at getting more and more limited in what she could manage on her own.
We showed a series of photos of her life set to her favourite music at the funeral service. Choosing what images to use I feel I understand her frustration so much better. She had to let go of the things that she liked doing, bit by bit. Had to give up their little apartment that they had decorated with care and where she had gathered all the things she cherished. Things she couldn’t take with her to her one room at the nursing home. And instead of going out on an errand with my dad every afternoon, which usually involved sitting down somewhere for a cup of coffee, she only went into her beloved city centre with me, occasionally. We took her to visit us, and she spend special days like Christmas and Easter with the children and grandchildren. But still, slowly she felt that she was more on the sidelines instead of in the centre of things.
Our mother was a proud woman who was always poised. And even though it never cost much, she was always able to find the perfect outfit and make them look like a million dollars. Clothes mattered in a big way, shoes were her passion as well as handbags and with her fingernails polished she made sure she was ready for the world. She took care of herself and took care of us in much the same way. And she also took care of her own elderly mother and of her grandchildren when they arrived.
Inevitable, but no Acceptance
At home things always ran like clockwork. She always had a knack for making being with her cosy. When we got home from school she would be waiting with a cup of tea and a cookie. And when we grew up and lived on our own, we knew we could always just drop in and find an inviting place. Music in the background or the tv running, candles lit when it was evening, something to drink and eat. Always something to chat about and always interested in what was going on in our lives.
As she was always taking care of others and started working part-time as well, she didn’t have any hobbies. She didn’t like reading, and couldn’t sit still long enough to watch a movie. Though I tried, I couldn’t get her into mobile gaming like with HayDay, but she did love to play solitaire or Mah-jong on the iPad. And she did follow all the news and knew what was going on in the world even before we knew.
Despite the fact that her body slowly gave up, her mind was sharp until the end. She knew she had to let go, but she found that to be very difficult. She did see that it was inevitable, but she couldn’t really accept it. I’m glad that in the end, she slept away peacefully, and that I was there to hold her hand. The end of life, but of course, she will forever live on in our hearts forever!