Today was a good day. It's been a while since I've smiled sincerely. But I also cried today as well...
Today, Mom gave her "presentation" at the monthly Alzheimer's Support Group meeting. With all the current stresses in her life, she managed to really touch the people there, as well as me. With Papaw in the hospital and working and being on call all the time, her speech wasn't hard for her, although she says she was nervous, but I couldn't tell. She stood behind Dad & I because she knew we would make her cry. Her speech wasn't really rehearsed either. Because it came from the heart. She talked about the struggles we as a family went through while Mamaw's disease progressed. She talked about the funny things Mamaw said and did. She talked about the last few months and how we all came together as a family. What touched me was when Mom talked about the day Mamaw died. She said that on her way to the nursing home shortly after she died, she talked to her. The whole way there. She talked to Mamaw as if she was sitting in the car next to her. She said she told her about all her grandkids and how everyone was doing and what she'd missed, as if she'd just returned from a long trip and was catching up. (That's when I began to cry)
I was proud of her. Thinking about all this and now with Papaw's illness, my mother is a very strong person. Right now I'm sitting here tearing up and trying to hide it just thinking about this, but she spilled her guts about everything and never cracked. That's strength there. I hope and pray that I will never have to do the things that she had to do, but if I do, I hope that I have inherited her strength. She got it from her Dad. That's obvious to me. (See Dad, there are good Martin genes in here somewhere....)
After the meeting, we went back to the hospital, Mom, Dad & I. Papaw was eating his dinner and we sat and talked about politics (a little) and then about old times. We talked about what we did and didn't remember about our childhoods. Dad said he remembered Mickey dropping a large rock on Jimmy's hand when they were kids. I remember going to New Jersey, but not much about DC, even though it was the same trip. I don't remember Disney World. I remember shaving the toilet seat in my parent's bathroom with my dad's razor (I was like 6, don't ask!) I remember Pete breaking his arm on the swing at Mamaw & Papaw's. I don't remember eating the bottle of Flintstones vitamins and being in the ER shortly after, but I do remember being in the hospital when I was about 10. I remember Dad hitting the windshield of the car with his fist while driving and it cracking. I vaguely remember sitting in front of the TV watching the shuttle taking off and then exploding, although that could be just from outside stories and then me envisioning it.
This is why it was a good day. We were surrounded by all types of things that would create negative thoughts: the hospital, Papaw being sick, trying to figure out who was going to sit with Papaw tomorrow, memories of Mamaw's illness, the cold weather outside, our busy work days tomorrow... But no one was dwelling on those things. Instead we were laughing at each other for something past and now insignificant.
My favorite picture of Mamaw. Clutching her Bible with a grand smile.