Bittersweet Chocolate Morsels

In ways, it’s been a long 4 months since we last saw our girl, but then again it feels like this whole year has gone by so quickly. Wasn’t it just yesterday that we were sending out graduation invitations and spending our evenings and weekends at ceremonies and end of the school year parties? It’s hard to believe Alli has completed her first year of college.

We’ve chatted a lot these last couple of weeks with brief text and email messages and a couple of long phone conversations. Most of our communication has been about how to pack, what to pack, what needs to be done, and final grades. But there was a phone call of heart to heartness (No, that’s not a word, but I have permission to use it because it’s my blog and I can make up words if I want. ☺) where Alli shared her mixed feelings about the end of her freshman year. She is homesick and ready to see her old friends, but she is already missing her new friends, some of whom she was just getting to know. She said she would miss her school and the city, but she is ready to be done with exams.

There are so many mixed emotions at this time for her and also for the empty nesters. Lars and I have really enjoyed our couple time, and yet we are ready for a visit from our girl. We all know it will be an adjustment, but right now it’s the least of my worries.

I could not post this until today, while Alli is on a plane, in the air on her way home and unable to read this. I’ve been hedging around the truth for three weeks here just trying to protect her from yet one more stressor during exam time.

On April 18th my sweet mother had a grand mal seizure. She was hospitalized while they kept an eye on her and ran tests. It was discovered that she has had several small strokes and seizures over the years and sadly it was confirmed that she has Alzheimer’s along with vascular dementia, or what is called mixed dementia.

Needless to say, the past 3 weeks have been difficult.

It was decided that Mom could not go home, and she was placed in a skilled nursing facility for rehabilitation. The only bed available when she was released from the hospital was at a horrid nursing home. (I have renamed it, Imperial Pit. My brother renamed it Inferior Gardens.) We knew immediately we could not leave her there and worked to get her transferred. It took a week, but we got her moved to a facility that is clean, bright, cheerful, and whose staff is loving, amazingly attentive and patient. It’s only two miles from Daddy, and this is a good thing.

Oh, Daddy. His heart is breaking over the fact that his bride of 63 years is drifting away and is not at home with him. He doesn’t want to believe it. Maybe he can’t. Any way around it, it’s hard to witness.

So, while Alli’s been studying for exams, taking exams, packing up her belongings and saying her goodbyes, I have been missing in action from my “normal” life.

A family member had to be with Mom around the clock at the hospital, so my Dad, brother and I took shifts.

Larry kept me in hugs and kept the household running. My friends and family checked in often and the neighbors and my dear friend, Susan fed us and even brought wine. My workplace understood the situation and that made a huge difference.

When Mom was at Inferior Gardens, we tried to keep one of us there from early morning to bedtime. (They wouldn’t allow overnighters.) Now that she is in a good nursing facility, we go visit on a saner schedule.

It’s been an emotionally, physically and spiritually exhausting time for all of us and it’s not over. But I have not let on any of this to Alli. We told her that her D-Dot, as she calls Mom, had a bad seizure, was in the hospital for tests, and went to rehab.

All of this is the truth. We just left out the details, like the fact that mom’s condition is progressive, as in becoming more severe over time, and she will not be going home. There are more details I will share with you later and I promise it’s not all bad. Some of it is downright hilarious. Even in all of this darkness, we have found comedy.

My aunt reminded me to take it one day at a time.I do. I had to remind her to practice what she preaches.

So, today I am focused on getting Alli home. During this family crisis, I have missed her presence, her humor her calm ways. Or maybe it’s just something about that mother/daughter bond. Spending hours and hours with my mother has given me the occasion to think of our shared time in this life, which naturally leads to thoughts of my life with my own daughter.

Alli will be here in just a couple of hours. She wants to go see her grandparents first thing. I will break the news to her on the way there.

Mother’s Day is Sunday. We will go visit my mother, carry her a new bird feeder to hang outside her window, and carry on as we can. I am very grateful for my mother. She’s the best. I learned so much from her.

Actually, I’m still learning from her.I hope when I’m 84 years old, my girl can say the same about me.

I would like to send a shout out to Laura for making me a mother.  I love this journey we’re on. I love that we can share our girl.

Being a mother is the ultimate life adventure. I’m so happy to be your mother, Alli.

And to all of you out there who are birthmothers, mothers of children or pets, or even if you mother other people’s children,  Happy Mother’s Day to you.  You keep the world wrapped in love, and keep our knees and hearts bandaged.

I’m off to BNA for a mother and child reunion.

Love,

Libby Lu

P.S. Dana, my dear friend and Alli’s Texas Mom, I cannot thank you enough for helping Alli with her dorm belongings. You are a Superwoman!

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14 thoughts on “Bittersweet Chocolate Morsels

  1. Libby. My heart goes out to you and family over your Mom. I keep up with your blogs and know the love, smiles, and pain you are experiencing. Love to Alli. Please let us know if there is anything we can do for you. Love Jan and Carl.

  2. Oh, how I do love you, dear Libby Lu, and those precious thoughts from your beautiful heart. Extra love and hugs this week for D-Dot, and for you all.

    And welcome home Alli! Your Ma and Pa have sure missed you! GNO when you get settled in!

    xoxoxo Lori

  3. Thanks for the Mother’s Day shout out L. I always love Mother’s Day because we share something so amazing!! I was just getting teary eyed & then my phone rang & it side tracked the tears. Ha. You know we are continuing our prayers for the family, especially D-Dot & P-Paw. Can’t wait to see you all soon!
    Love You!
    Laura

  4. Oh Libby – my heart aches for you. I am just now catching up on my reading and saw your post. I think of a quote from Joy Gresham Lewis (wife of C.S. Lewis). “The joy now is part of the sorrow then.” I pray you will find many more moments of joy being with those you love as you go through this sorrowful time to comfort and sustain your heart.

    • Thank you, Sweetie. Funny, I just caught up on your blog this evening. You are an inspiration. Who else could turn around a failed vacation into a success at living each day the way it falls.

  5. Libby–I am so sorry that you are dealing with such a hard situation with your Mother. A musician/blogger/acquaintance beautifully told her story of how she and her Mother faced dementia with joy, sorrow and humor sometimes all in the same few seconds. Here is the link to her blog if you are interested. http://www.jonathabrooke.com/journal/ You have to go back a bit to see the posts about her Mother who passed away not terribly long ago.

    I cannot tell you how much joy reading your story of Laura and Alli gives me. You have all created something beautiful by focusing on the single most important thing–loving each other. Love without concern for the complications. Love in spite of the complications. Doing what is best for one another no matter what. That is a marvelous thing to witness. Thank you so much for sharing that love with us.

    • M. – You should write. You really should. HA I love twistedcistern.blogspot.com but I have not had time to check out other blogs this month…I must catch up soon.
      Thank you for putting our open adoption into such beautiful words. You nailed it. It’s a relationship that never ceases to bring me joy. Laura’s sister, Alli’s auntie is in the middle of the adoption process right now. She was 18 when we adopted her niece and I didn’t see this coming. It’s so exciting to see that our birthfamily is now going to be an adoptive family.

      I look forward to checking out your friend’s blog. I need all the input/experience sharing I can get right now. Thanks for sharing.

      AND thank you for reading my blog! We must terrorize Atlanta one day!

      L.

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