Over the past few months, I have had a chance to read my mom’s beloved journals. As I have been organizing her bins, I have found a few more of her old calendars and her journals that she was so dedicated to. They are a treasure.
I know that she has many more but I am sure in her numerous moves over her life, some have gone missing but I am thankful for the ones that I do have and the story they so beautifully tell.
I think I have told you this before but my mom actually wrote about how often my brother and I called her. Really. She even commented when she didn’t hear from us, and wondered what we were doing and why we hadn’t called.
Many of her writings start with calendars and she documented their trips, their meetings with Lutheran Social Services and quick views of her day with both Ross and I. I love that she documents their struggle with adoption and their joy by writing in that tiny little space.
She writes about the weather, her walks every morning, my dad’s golf outings, who she saw on her trip to the mail box, who has died in the community, the birth of both of our girls, the sadness regarding my dad’s death and even her loss after him is so clearly evident.
She writes about her close friends, baking buns and lemon bars for funeral services and trips that we took after my dad died. She talks about her much loved Dairy Queen in my home town, her many years of cleaning houses after she retired from cooking for seniors and she writes about all the blankets that she made by hand. She is also grateful. Many of the entries are of her faith and her love for us. I love that in one of the entries, she states…”Thank you God.”
Her journals are also a snap shot of the start of her memory loss. So achingly spelled out for me to read. She writes about her forgetting the eggs in the brownies and there is a confusing entry of her and the van. I think she got turned around somehow. She talks a lot about being tired and “getting mixed up”. I remember wanting her to have a MRI of her brain and she agreed after much coaxing. I was having a hard time with the start of her loss, half in denial, half knowing that she needed more help.
As she continues to write, it is difficult for me to continue reading. It is the start of her loss in 2007 and her notes and entries start to get shorter and her handwriting starts to change. Her last green journal is filled with a quick synapse of her shortened days and she only wrote a short amount after I moved her into the assisted living. I know that she wasn’t very happy with me and she does not write about her new place but shortly stops writing. This was her last entry.
I love that her last entry was about me being very busy around her apartment. I remember I was organizing her room and trying to make it homey. I should be glad that she didn’t write about her anger with me for moving her out of her home.
There are parts of me that wishes she would have continued writing about her memory loss, if she were able. I only write about her last three years, in the memory care unit but you never get to see her side of this disease, only from my point of view. My most treasured writing of hers are her last. She didn’t want to forget my birthday ever so I found many slips of paper with my birthday on it. And if you remember, she had a special note for me that I thought was going to be a loving note. She stated her nails looked bad. That was the end of her writing.
As you can imagine, her journals are very special. Something that my girls will keep and be reminded of their Grandma. They will note the entry of their birth and how she talked about them with such incredible love. I also can feel the love, writing about her own children and her gratefulness of her life. I wish you could see all of them, she dearly loved her home town and church.
Next Tuesday, my mom would have turned 90 years old. There isn’t a day I don’t think of her. In her honor/memory, our Starbuck Dairy Queen (her home town DQ only) will be giving away medium Snickers Blizzard or if you prefer, a medium dipped cone. April 26th. Enjoy from our family.
I know my mom would love the thought of people eating Dairy Queen on her birthday!