If I'm the Momma

by Janice
(Louisville, Ky.)

My eighty-nine years old Mom passed away on March 26th, 2012 after eight difficult years of living without my Dad who died in March of 2004. Mom & Daddy were married when Mom was only fourteen years old & Daddy was seven years older.They had known each other since Mom was only two years old.Through the years Mom gave birth to four sons & five daughters, however their firstborn my brother Dallas, lived only one short day.Both Mom & Daddy had a strong Baptist faith & raised all of us kids in the Baptist Church.
We lived on a farm & both my Mom & my Dad were very hard workers. Mom canned & put up tons of vegetables from our garden as well as making preserves, homemade butter, etc. Mom also was an excellent seamstress, & could make just about anything. Mom also tended to the cows or pigs when my Dad slaughtered one to help feed our large family. We were not wealthy in terms of money value by any means, but we more than made up for that with an abundance of love.
Four months before my Dad passed in 2004 my next oldest living brother Donnie passed away too, so Mom lost not only another beloved son but also her lifelong partner, my Dad... in just four month's time. Mom went to live with my youngest sister & her family after we lost Daddy. What followed shortly was Mom's health took a more drastic turn that was already declining due to old age & health issues, & a deep grief that we could never quite move past. My sister, being financially secure tried everything she could think of to pamper Mom & hopefully help ease Moms loneliness. We all helped as much as we could. These last several years of Moms life has been a difficult time at best for Mom as well as her children. Our very sweet gentle Mom that had always been there was now struck with dementia & we all were suffering the effects with Mom. The siblings that could worked out a schedule to be with Mom who could now not be left alone. Mom was also no longer able to take care of any of her personal needs. Mom forgot how to knit, what to do with a tooth brush, she no longer read, she thought the people that were on tv were here with us,she was always looking for Daddy, her own Mama or Daddy, her grandparents, her children, etc... & she was always saying ''I want to go home''we were never certain where home was for Mom... was it on the farm where we children had grown up, or was it where she had spent her own childhood? It was heartbreaking to see Mom endure the confusion of her own mind.. She no longer recognized us when we were with her. Then the dementia took a turn into a direction that was the most difficult of all. Mom was now very feeble and delicate, yet she would become completely agitated and start to curse mean and nasty words to anyone within ear shot. She would become stiff and unrelenting, and would kick, smack, or hit at anyone within reach even though we were trying our best to care for her needs. It became a battle that wore us out too, & we all dreaded it for Mom and ourselves. Before all this began Mom used to have a saying that went like this, she'd say ''well, if I'm the Momma" that would usually be followed by her reasoning of why she would or wouldn't agree to a request one of us might have where she was concerned. We always found her words endearing, & it was sure to bring us a smile. Now we were always on alert it seemed, we never knew who to expect, whether Mom would be the sweet gentle lady that raised us, or the woman with such nasty words or actions. It didn't ease the stress to know that Mom couldn't help how she acted now. In fact, when she was gentle she would say to us ''I can't help how I am now, I'm so sorry.''Even though she had no memories of things that were happening. It had to have been so scary for Mom...
When Mom died all of her children as well as a great many of her grandchildren were there with her. I think we all probably had mixed emotions, I know that I did. I didn't want to not be able to hold my Moms hand, see her face, smell her scent, etc. but I also didn't want her to suffer any longer, she had been through so much. The selfish part of me actually felt a sense of relief, Mom's children had been through alot with her. Then I had tremendous feelings of guilt for these selfish thoughts. Now, these days I just want to hear my Mom's sweet voice, see her gentle face, I miss those times so very much...Mom used to say 'please don't forget me''I could never do that she's ''The Mom''

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