Today we lost my mother-in-law. She was 93 years old, suffering from Alzheimer’s for 12 years yet she knew her son and daughter to the end. She walked on her own with no need for a walker. The Memory Center where she has lived for the last six years said she was the ‘caregiver’ for her roommate, who had no children and no family. While she could not caregive in the way we think of it, she befriended her, held her hand, laughed with her, probably cried with her, and they couldn’t even remember each other’s names. She tried to care for everyone around her – including helping some out of their wheelchairs (smiles). She insisted on wiping down tables in the small “house” or “pod” area where she dined. She wanted to be busy and productive every minute. She always smiled. She was always positive. She was always encouraging.
She loved her children, daughter-in-law (me) and son-in-law unconditionally. She deeply, deeply loved her grandchildren. She adored them, and they loved and adored her. She had principles and convictions and lived by them, and everyone who knew her, noticed. As she lay on her death bed, her skin was like that of a young girl, soft and not a single wrinkle. She had a routine of skin care and exercise that she had kept faithfully since she was a young girl, until she could no more. She had the gentlest spirit, with a sweet fiery and funny edge and she was an inspiration to everyone, including the Memory Center staff. They marveled at her strength and her will, and the love she shared with each of them. It’s not the usual Alzheimer’s story, but then she wasn’t the ‘usual’ woman.
I am honored to have had her in my life. She was a splendid role model. Because of her and my father-in-law, who has been gone for 14 years now, they raised the most wonderful husband for me. He is my Super Hero. Like Mother, Like Daughter. My sister-in-law is a beautiful woman in every way. She is dear to me, and I am so grateful for her.
The sun will no more be your light by day, nor will the brightness of the moon shine on you, for the Lord will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory. Your sun will never set again, and your moon will wane no more; the Lord will be your everlasting light, and your days of sorrow will end.