5 ways to honour a mother every day

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Today I paused to reflect on how I honour my mother every day. Here are five of the most important ways for me (there are 50 more here):

1) See her

On a practical level, I saw her physically almost every day for five years and supported her as she lived with dementia. I know our time together nourished her spirit as well as mine and brought us both joy. On a spiritual level, I saw her in a much deeper way as the person she always wa and continued to be despite living with dementia. I tried to capture the meaning of that in this short poem.

There may be no greater gift to another human being than to really see them. Conversely, the most hurtful thing one can do to another is to isolate them and treat them as if they are invisible. It happens to scores of people with dementia. I know from experience how soul-destroying it can be.

2) Love her and tell her so

Having let go of any judgments, resentments and hurts that lay between us made it easy for me to really love and appreciate my mother in a way that sometimes surprised even me. I feel lucky to have found my way to this place of forgiveness. I was also fortunate to be able to tell her I love her while she was still alive. Saying “I love you,” can be a hard thing to do; it forces us to be vulnerable. But if we don’t say it today, we may not be able to say it tomorrow. There may not be a tomorrow.

3) Give her the most precious gift

Material things and money come and go. Time is much more precious. Each moment exists for only a heartbeat and then is gone with the wind. Some moments, maybe even lots and lots of them, may be retained if one’s memory remains intact; but if we lose our memory to dementia or something else, all of the stored moments vanish with it. When that happens, each new moment we live in the present becomes an even greater treasure.

The gift of time is priceless. I honoured my mother by giving her mine.

4) Be true blue to cherished values

Mom and I didn’t always agree. Our values are similar, but not the same. I am my mother’s daughter, but I am not my mother. I respect her and the life she “gave” me every day by being true to my values, living a life of integrity, and being the best person I can be. I cherish honesty, freedom, growth and learning. She would be proud of that, even if she hasn’t always agreed with all of my decisions or been able to see me for the person I am, which I blogged about on Mother’s Day 2012.

5) Keep going

Mom was a fighter. So am I. She didn’t give up easily. Neither do I. Even when all seems lost, I will fight for what I believe is right until I simply cannot fight anymore. That determination is in my genes, and it’s partly what kept me by her side as she lived with dementia despite overwhelming challenges.

Blogger Betty Eitner, whose mother died in 2010, shared a like sentiment in this tribute piece; she said:

“She was a fighter, a survivor and taught me to never give up and to fight for what I believed was right. It’s not always easy to stand-my-ground but she always supported me and I know she’s still there beside me, giving me strength.”

Like Eitner, I will keep on keeping on in honour of my mom even though she’s not on this earth anymore; I will do what she did and live life fully engaged until I breathe my last breath. Millions of daughters worldwide will do the same. Hats off to us and the mother’s that raised us.

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10 Comments

  1. Great piece! I like short lists this one. And “blessings in disguise” fits my situation with my mother too. Yesterday I told her that I loved her on the phone. Years ago that would have received an awkward silent moment, but with her new state of being it received a lovely emotional response. We are both now really seeing each other!

  2. Beautiful, Susan. Reading this piece reminds me that even a curse like Alzheimer’s has its blessings. My mom and I were always close – we had our moments, like all mothers and daughters, but she was my rock, my role model, and my biggest cheerleader.

    Once through the years of denial, Alzheimer’s brought us even closer – closer than I knew possible. Despite the fact that she lost her verbal communication ability early on, I never doubted her love for me – she always found a way to communicate that love, with or without words.

    Thank you for generously sharing your wisdom and your touching story!

    ~Ann

  3. Saying “I love you,” can be a hard thing to do; it forces us to be vulnerable. But if we don’t say it today, we may not be able to say it tomorrow.

    This sentiment is soooo true and I am happy, just as you are, that I had the opportunity to tell my Mom that I loved her so many times while she was still with me. Fortunately, you still have your mom with you and, regardless of her state of mind on any given day, I know that she hears & feels your love every day.

    Unfortunately so many people don’t do so or do not take the time to do so when they can and may have regrets. The time to say “I love you” is NOW!!

    Happy Mother’s Day to your mom… and I hope you are having an “I love you” day 🙂

    • “I know that she hears & feels your love every day.”

      Yes, I believe she does and I agree the time to say “I love you” is NOW if not sooner 🙂

      Thanks for your great blog, which I enjoy tremendously.

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