FTD - Frontotemporal Dementia - early onset (40-60s) dementia. - Let's talk about it. Let's do something about it. While Heart Disease is on the decline (wahoo!) thanks to research and awareness. Dementia is on the rise BUT IT DOES NOT HAVE TO BE. Research and education today creates a HOPEFUL FUTURE FOR YOU AND YOUR CHILDREN. Read on :)
If you ask me what I’ll be doing on
March 13th, 2014, I’ll respond, “That’s six months away- that’s ages
away. I do not even know what I am doing
If you ask me where I was March 13th,
2013, I remember it like it was yesterday.
March 13, 2014….an intangible time in
the future that I cannot really even fathom.
March 13, 2013….tangible lump in my
throat, heavy chest….feels like it was yesterday.
Yet they are both exactly 6 months away from today.
And so if the distance is identical, why are the two so unequal? Time is a funny thing…
No room for Dan! Mom, Adam and Megan dreaming away
When Mom and Nanny first got sick, I
used to dream about both of them all of the time. We all did.
Heidi and I have had countless talks about how similar our dreams
are. Neither Mom nor Nanny were ever sick
in our dreams. Well, they were, but they
weren’t. Mom looked like mom- her cheeks
were full and had a hint of blush (the only makeup she really ever wore or needed), her outfit - some kind of cheesy sweater that
she adorned so well, and she was talking up a storm. We would talk about her being sick and in
some dreams she would say how she did this
or that and now she was better. Her speech was impeccable; her voice
crisp. She was not in a wheelchair but
instead walking about like any healthy 50 something. Her weight was what it should be, and all
physical ailments gone.
If this was 2008/2009 that I was
telling you this, I would tell you how much I would dread these dreams.
They were so incredibly real.
Have you ever noticed that window in
time, right when you wake up, that seems to belong to itself? Sleep is over, you are now awake. But reality of the day has not yet hit you. You are surrounded by calm, often still
embracing the dream before it fades away…
And then the day hits, and that moment of calm which occurred just seconds before feels as distant as the dream you can barely
The moment where the calm clashes with
the Day was why I dreaded those dreams in the early years. For just a few moments I had forgotten Mom
was sick, that Nanny was sick. Life was
good again. And then reality would hit
like a ton of bricks. Things were not
going to be ok. Mom was not going to be
OK. I will never have a two sided conversation with her again. I dreaded those dreams because the weight of
reality, held back through the night, came crashing down in the AM and the
weight of it felt unbearable.
But as Mom progressed…as her sentences
became words and then her words became silence… as she went from physically
fine, to a slowing walk, to wheelchair bound and finally bedridden…I found
myself looking forward to both the dreams and that wonderful moment just after
waking and before reality. I missed her
so much, and if a dream was where I could talk to her, then I was happy to have
it. I would lie in bed in the morning
and try to hold onto the dream and the feeling as long as I could. As relentless as time, reality of Day always
won and I had to let go. But the
difference now was that when I got up to start my day, the heaviness and
sadness was now replaced with gratitude and joy. I was given another moment with Mom—even if
it was just in a dream.
Exactly 6 months ago, March 13th,
2013, Mom finally let go. Her time had
come. In these last six months since, I
have not met Mom in any of my dreams—or at least none that I remember. I used to dream about her multiple times in a
week and they all just…stopped.
At first, I was saddened by this. Mom is often the last person I think about
before drifting off to sleep. And that
first month, I was almost willing her
to come visit me. But she never did and
she still does not.
And maybe it’s because she does not need to anymore. Mom dedicated 32 years to raising us (35 if
you count my dad). Even after she fell
ill, and could no longer speak or walk, she continued
to be there for all of us, every night.
Typical, Mom—always tending to others first, carrying out her mantra “deeds not words shall speak me” til the
very last breath.
And so on March 13th, 2013,
she left our dreams and entered our hearts until we can meet again. We are all going to be ok, because she has
shaped us into the adults we have become.
She is with us in the most subtle ways. I watched my sister, Megan, lean on
the counter the other day, and just the way she stood, it might as well have
been Mom standing there. I see Adam,
Christina and Megan all raise their children with the values Mom taught us. My handwriting looks more and more like Mom’s
She is not in our dreams, but she
continues to be with all of us.
So as much as I miss you, Mom, I’m
ok. We’re all Ok. Even if I don’t get to see you every night
anymore, I know we’ll meet again.