“I never thought I’d return to Cape to live. I’m a big believer in ‘things happen for a reason.’ It was not my plan to take care of my mom, but that’s exactly what I’m doing, or so I thought. She has dementia, but physically, she’s pretty healthy for her age, so no one knows how long she will be on this earth. I tell people that I am back in Cape taking care of my mom.
One evening, I was having a cocktail with a friend whose mom also has dementia, and we were exchanging ‘dementia daughter stories,’ as she calls it. She said something that put this time in my life into perfect perspective: ‘It is a privilege to help someone die with dignity.’ Wow. I never looked at it like that. So, I’m doing what I can to make sure my mom has dignity until she dies, and in reality, she is taking care of me. I am learning to be present in the moment, which I have struggled with all of my life. Yesterday we both noticed a spider web outside the window and talked about how the sun made it glisten. I was conscious of her facial expressions, her words, her voice, her slight smile as she talked. I wasn’t somewhere else in my mind, like wanting to check my email or texts, or wondering if I mailed that birthday card to my best friend.
So many people tell me they are ‘so sorry’ when I tell them that sometimes my mom doesn’t know who I am. And you know, it really doesn’t bother me. I know who she is. She is the woman who gave me life. I am exactly where I am supposed to be.”