NAMI’s Peer-to-Peer course introduced me to the concept of mental health recovery and gave me HOPE. As a NAMI Provider Education presenter and In Our Own Voice speaker I share my story of mental health recovery. You can see my speech here.
NAMIWalks provides NAMI Orange County with 1/3 of their operating budget, enabling them to offer free mental health educational programs, meetings and support groups.
This weekend my sister visited and we celebrated Thanksgiving twice with our parents. Friday we joined our mother at her memory care community and joined their festivities. That afternoon and early dinner went very well. We had fun decorating her room and organizing photos.
Saturday we brought our father to visit our mother for lunch. The visit went well until we left them alone for a few minutes while we got coffee in the lobby. By the time I returned to our mother’s room, they were planning their escape back to their old beach house (which they no longer own – we had to sell it to pay for their care).
Big sigh. Clearly they wish their lives were as they were before dementia, before stroke. We all do.
It’s been a year. It’s been a year since I noticed that my mother hadn’t taken her turn in Words with Friends. It’s been a year since my mother was verbal. It’s been a year since she could use language.
Her passion was words. She spent her days playing word games. She was proud that she had been debate team captain in college. She could and would and did slay with words.
Last year she had a stroke. Life hasn’t been the same since – not for her, not for my father, not for my sister, not for me, not for my son, not for my husband.
Finally, I allow myself to gently shed a few tears, a few soft tears. Finally, I allow myself much needed mourning the loss of my verbal mother. She is still with us, but she is different. Her brain permanently changed, permanently damaged.
I can no longer talk on the phone with her. I can no longer play word games with her. And, so, I’m sad. I miss the old her. Even if she did slay with words.