I lied to my mother. Frequently! In fact, almost every time I saw her for the past two years of her life. I became adept at it. I never felt guilty either, not even as a Christian. The lies kept her happy.
Yesterday, January 17, 2015, marked a year since Mom went home to heaven. She was preceded by my father and ten siblings. She was the last one left. Those last two years, she was in a care facility and had health issues typical for someone in their eighties.
The worst to deal with, though, for me as a daughter was her dementia. She would cry and beg to go home with me. I learned to lie and say, “Maybe another day, Mom.” She would stop crying and smile. She wouldn’t remember that I told her that, but for the moment it alleviated her sorrow.
She would ask about her brothers and sisters, some who had departed this life many years ago. I would hug her and say, “No, I haven’t talked to Uncle Paul lately. (or Aunt Nola or other aunt or uncle).” She would smile and say, “Me either. Maybe tomorrow.”
The first time I told her my Uncle Allen had been dead for years, she cried like the loss was fresh. So I started lying when she asked these questions about her siblings. I didn’t tell her when her last living sibling, my Aunt Esther, died.
Mom always remembered I was her daughter but she had no idea what my name was. Sometimes I was Shelly or Judy or Carol. She didn’t remember my children or grandchildren, and the many faces confused her and made her cry.
She was a simple woman with only an eighth grade education. She wasn’t very smart intellectually, but she was one of the most creative and resourceful women I knew. I learned from her how to stretch a dollar, how to make a tasty meal from leftovers, and how to find resourceful ways to make money. I learned that hard work and honesty are virtues to be proud of.
I miss you, Mom. The picture is of me and my sister with Mom on Thanksgiving 2013. It was less than two months before Mom passed away, and the last time I got to bring her to my house.