Until Death Do Us Part

Yesterday, September 1st,  would have been my mother and father’s 65th wedding anniversary. My father died September 30th, 2006.  He and my mother had been married 57 years when he died. I never saw anyone grieve so hard and for so long as my mother did when my father died. Then, she just absolutely gave up on living her life which eventually lead her to the Care Center where she is today.

After my father died I would pick out an anniversary card from my father, along with some pretty flowers, and take them to my mother on their anniversary. She loved that and would tell me how much it meant to her because she knew that was what my father would have done. Over the years my mother’s dining room tablemate, Joan, made note of my mother’s wedding anniversary date and would always say happy anniversary to my mother on that date.

However, as my mother’s Parkinson’s and dementia progressed, it started to upset my mother more than it made her happy when she realized she had forgotten it was their anniversary, and she would cry. This year I decided I would just take her a favorite treat, a caramel frappe, on her anniversary and if she remembered it was her anniversary I would tell her “yes, I brought you this treat from dad to celebrate.” If she didn’t remember it was their anniversary I wasn’t going to mention it and just give her the treat telling her I just thought she might be ready for something special… That was the plan…

When I arrived at the Care Center with the caramel frappe my mother was in the activity room playing bingo. She was sitting across from her dining room tablemate, Joan. I walked up and hugged my mother and sat the caramel frappe on the table in front of my mother and right when I did, Joan said “oh, I bet you brought that for your mother’s wedding anniversary didn’t you?” I had no choice then but to tell my mother I did bring the frappe as a treat from dad to celebrate her wedding anniversary…” My mother got tears in her eyes and her lip started to quiver as she looked at me and said “how many years has it been?” I said “well, you were married 57 years when dad died, and it would have been 65 years today.” At that Joan chimed in and said “well my husband died 9 years ago and I don’t still celebrate our anniversary because after all the wedding vows even say until death do us part.. She went on to say to my mother “you act like your still grieving his passing.” My mother was getting very upset now and asked me to take her to her room. I got up, but before I left with my mother I said to Joan, as nicely as I could… “Everyone has the right to grieve in their own way. There is no right or wrong way to grieve and there is no time limit for grieving. How hard you grieve or how long you grieve isn’t an indication of how much you loved, it’s just what it is, grief. So I will thank  you to please let my mother grieve in her own way.”

Happy Anniversary Mom.

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10 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. gotham girl
    Sep 02, 2014 @ 21:34:16

    So true…we all grieve differently…don’t know the age of of Joan or her issues…but I do know that the elderly certainly change in their thoughts and what they say. You did the right thing by removing her from the situation. Good job! Love you! more!

    Reply

    • beyondcinderella
      Sep 02, 2014 @ 22:38:43

      Thank you for your response frissy. Yes, everyone does grieve differently and what I have come to realize is sometimes there is no limit to how long one might grieve… XoXo MORE!

      Reply

    • Michelle Hamson
      Sep 05, 2014 @ 15:16:14

      Oh.. this was beautiful.. I miss both your parents. You know mom came out to Arizona with both of them??? they talked about ths? She said they sang all the way here.. she loved them so much.. they were amoung her favorite relatives with no doubt. When mom died.. I shut down for two years… I worked myself to death until one day I was driving and I pulled over and lost it! I cried for hours. It is hard to know how a person will react tot things. I would have removed your mom from the situation too.. 🙂

      Reply

      • beyondcinderella
        Sep 05, 2014 @ 21:05:08

        Thank you for your comments Michelle. I really appreciate it. Both of my parents thought the world of your mother too. They told me the same stories about her coming out to Arizona with them and living with them for a while and all the fun they had together.

  2. Ellen Kaufman
    Sep 03, 2014 @ 00:10:34

    Good for you Virginia! No one knows until they walk that pathway and I only know when your Mom and Dad were together when I was a very young girl and they were having their relationship and even after and they had Tommy and Danny I always thought they were so much in love and if I was so lucky to find a love like theirs or like Bob and Dee’s that I would be the happiest girl in the world! That was when I was too young for boys but so anxious to grow up fast! Boy did God send me a good one to fill all my dreams .
    I know she will always love him and she probably thinks about him a lot! God only knows how much! Love You and thanks for making her feel so special as I know your Dad did such a awesome job of treating her that way❤️

    Reply

  3. Karen
    Sep 04, 2014 @ 03:36:18

    You are such a loving daughter! How blessed your mother is to have you.

    Reply

  4. katsbynp
    Sep 07, 2014 @ 00:04:48

    My Dad passed before my Mom and she grieved for him until she passed. How each person grieves is truly a personal experience. I am so glad you were there to support your Mother. Thank you so much for sharing.

    Reply

    • beyondcinderella
      Sep 07, 2014 @ 12:47:22

      Grief is a very personal thing and I really get frustrated when I hear people say things like “just get over it…” Thanks for your comments and continued support Kathy. XoXo

      Reply

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