Sentimental Journey


My mother has always been a strong woman. She went through a lot in her life – a lot of laughter and a lot of tears. She’s stood strong as an oak and weathered every storm. If I could be one half the woman she has been, I’d be happy.

Mom raised me and my brothers with a lot of love and respect. She led by example and wasn’t always easy to follow, but we did the best we could.

In her later years, we started calling her the “Matriarch” of our family and that’s exactly what she is. She has always been there for each of us when we needed her. She is easy to talk to and had a special way of making things feel so much better. Mom has always been a woman of solutions – not excuses.

Every October Mom would make the six-hour drive to visit us since we couldn’t travel anymore. We treasured those days with her and couldn’t wait till the next year to do it again!

One late summer day, we were in the midst of planning Mom’s next visit when the phone rang and life changed in an instant for all of us.

MOM – my wonderful mother – our matriarch – was showing signs of dementia. It hit quick and hit hard! In an instant, the mom who was planning the long drive to visit us became the mom who was overshadowed with confusion and paranoia. In some areas, she was clear as a bell, but I could sense the change in her.

I flew out as soon as possible to help Mom and my daughter face this new stage in her life. She had already moved into an Assisted Living, but there was much to deal with. Fortunately, my daughter lives nearby and is a vital part of Mom’s life.

Mom had been saying she’s getting more and more forgetful, but we were all chalking it up just to old age. Then we discovered more issues that pointed to dementia.

After taking Mom to her doctor’s visit, my daughter and I sat down with her and explained what was going on. I hated to use the terms “dementia” and “Alzheimers”, but that’s what it was. Mom actually took the news a lot better than we anticipated.

Mom said she knew she had a few loose marbles, but now thinks there are more loose marbles than she realized. She said she lived a good life and just wanted to live out her remaining years in “paradise” (her assisted living facility). She was quite lucid, and even funny,  when she remarked that now her long term care insurance would definitely pay for to remain in her “new digs”.

It has to be SO hard for this very independent and successful woman to see her independence being swept away and maybe her mind as well.

It was a time of smiles and tears. We relived old memories and hopefully made some new ones. I hugged my mom when I left and wondered if she would know me the next time she saw me. My daughter said that my mom wondered the same thing. I guess great minds think alike!!

This visit was hard, but I’m so glad I went. Now I can take comfort in the fact that Mom is in a wonderful place and is receiving excellent care. We don’t know how her last scene will play out, but we are praying for her to have the best life she can. Life is full of journeys – some happy and some sad. This was a very sentimental journey for me.

I thank God that I’ve had such a wonderful mom for so many years and I truly hope we have many more years. I can’t imagine life without her.

This experience has reminded me how fragile life is. We go through different stages of life in what seems like a blink of an eye, and each stage can contain stressful situations. These big life changes can take us away from what we’re used to and cause us to worry about the future. Our concerns can overwhelm us or they can bring us closer, in our need, to the One who created us and knows us better than anyone else!

When life gets tough and you start to feel overwhelmed, take a deep breath and turn your worries over to God! You can’t always handle what you’re up against, but God can!

“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”
Matthew 11:28 (KJV)

Be encouraged as you go through difficulties:

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.” Philippians 4:6 (NKJV)

Don’t be afraid. Rest in the comfort that you are never alone.

“And the Lord, He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed.” Deuteronomy 31:8 (NKJV)

None of us knows what obstacles we will face along life’s journey, but God will be with us each step of the way. God will comfort us, encourage us and guide us, if we lay our burdens at His feet and rest in Him.

I hope you enjoyed reading this article.
Be sure to check out another of my articles: Let Us Give Thanks

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About Gail Pinder

I was born in New Jersey and raised in a small town in Pennsylvania. I have lived in many places – Texas, Arkansas, Delaware and finally Michigan. Several years ago, I met a wonderful man – a Vietnam Navy vet who shares my love of God and Country! We have been happily married for more than 18 years. I have two children of my own and Emery has two children. We have four wonderful grandchildren. Emery and I both have Multiple Sclerosis. He is now in a powerchair and I am his caregiver. Life is somewhat challenging, but we do the best we can. We tell everyone that “We have MS, but it doesn’t have us!” I have always loved to write and my dream was to becoming a “writer”. PICC gave me a window to my dream and an opportunity to share my thoughts with others. Our faith is strong and I don’t know where we would be without it. We are determined to spread a little sunshine in a darkened world.