It is over. It is ironic that I wrote about my recent first experience with Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) for my last blog post. I love the meaning behind this Mexican holiday of honoring those who have passed before us and of the power to remain alive through memories. Since then, my mother passed away, her spirit carried perhaps on the wings of a butterfly.
Also ironic is that only a day before my mother first felt ill and everything snowballed, a poetry book I’ve been working on went live online at Amazon. Poems That Come to Mind is a short book of mostly Japanese style haiku and tanka that tell about the experience of caring for someone with dementia. I was able to celebrate the publication momentarily, happy I’d gotten it out during the month of my mother’s birthday since it is in honor of her. My mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s a few years after I published her memoir, Cherry Blossoms in Twilight.
Reading the poems during editing required a tissue in hand because caregiving is filled with sadness and pain as well as poignant beauty. On the bright side, I discovered a private Facebook group for those suffering dementia and for their caregivers. We commiserate, share our experiences, give suggestions that worked for us, ask for advice, or just tell about our day with the disease. I have never seen a more supportive, loving online group, and am sorry I only found them at the end of this journey. I highly recommend the Memory People Facebook group.
Poems That Come to Mind is sad, there’s no getting around that. But I hope that caregivers reading it will be reminded there are also exquisite moments of love that burn all the brighter because of the darkness. I am treasuring those moments now.
I love you Mom.