The visitation and memorial were nice. I was amazed at some of the people who took time out to come and pay their respects. People who traveled from the Twin Cities, people who only knew mom through her time at the nursing home and didn't know the family, old friends of mine who were a big part of my young life and childhood in Rochester, family that had traveled far, etc. It seemed to me that the best of people's personality showed at the time of my grief and mourning. The memorial service was simple, each of the surviving children read a poem and my childhood friend, Reverend C. Nelson, gave a very nice talk about mom's life, her influence on others and the influences that shaped who she was. I didn't feel terribly sad until the graveside service when I was forced to say my final goodbye. There I shed a few tears and let go of my mother's physical being.
It was after we returned home that the grief poured in and took over. I received a notice that a wonderful friend from my childhood had made a donation to the Alzheimer's Association in my mother's name. Suddenly I was overwhelmed with sadness. I was surprised by the loving generosity shown and deeply saddened that I could not share this moment with my mother. It was also then that I realized that the person who had always meant so much in my life was no longer there. And even though the past few years had been difficult, at least I could always sit with her and hold her hand. Now my mother's hand was gone.
And now a few days after the service, I am even more saddened by events that have angered, hurt and depressed me even more than ever before. I feel as if those who should have understood what I was going through and how I was feeling did not understand or at least chose to ignore it. I will not go into details here other than to say that now more then ever I wonder if all this is worth it. I know that mother is at peace, I sometimes wish that I could be too. I know that I will not do anything "drastic" but I also will not quickly get over the hurt. Eventually, the pain will go away and maybe the depression will too. My mother would not want me to hold the anger and I will not let the anger, pain and depression win.
So now I am left with memories. Memories that will keep my mother alive in my heart and will cheer me when I am sad and depressed. Memories of my childhood, of happy times, of long talks, of gathering with family around the table for a wonderful home cooked meal, of holding my mother's hand. And I will remember the memorial service, the wonderful friends and family that showed their love and support as I went through this painful period of grief. And soon, I hope, the grief will be replaced with a calm knowledge that I did all I could for my mother and my reward was, and always will be, memories of my dear, sweet mother.
So long mom. Until I see your smile, your bright blue eyes and hold your hand, please know that I am okay. Oh, and tell dad and the rest of the family with you that I miss them.
Oh, and one more thing, if you are so inclined, we would like to see donations made in the name of Ida E. Bandel go to the Alzheimer's Association.
Please go to - alz.org to make your donation.