A Love Letter to Mom

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My mom has always been my hero.  Cliche, right?  I know, I SO know . . . but seriously, she has always been my personal hero.  I’m so proud of her.  She has handled so many of life’s unexpected difficulties with grace and faith that is remarkable to me.  Our family is so lucky and so blessed—we have some major love for one another—but we’ve been through some shit.  Some serious, awful, unexpected shit.  Mom was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1996.  Shana in 2013.  Both went through mastectomy surgeries, both through months of chemotherapy and both of them handled it with a strength and grace that I can only begin to fathom.

In 2009, my brilliant dad (literally, the smartest man I’ve ever known) was diagnosed with Lewy Body Dementia (LBD).  It’s a heartbreaking, debilitating disease that’s part Parkinson’s (tremors, shaking, movement issues) and part Alzheimer’s (memory and cognition degeneration and personality changes).  It’s been awful.  No one knows that more than my mom.  She has been my father’s caregiver since his symptoms first appeared, years before his diagnosis, (which was, unfortunately, just months after her mom passed, to whom she had been a caregiver for four years after her stroke). 

As I’ve been married only 5 years this summer, I can’t even begin to imagine what it’s like for mom.  I mean, this is her person, he’s the one, her “Sweet Baboo” (her favorite nickname for him as she refers to him daily).  I can’t imagine what it’s like to watch your spouse, your true love change before your eyes.  To become a shell of the person he once was, and to support, love and care for him Every. Step. Of. The. Way. 

It hasn’t been easy, but they find joy in the little things: having a glass of wine at night while watching their favorite shows together, Friday night dates, going for walks.  Date nights and walks are getting harder because dad is having a harder time keeping his balance and walking.  It’s exhausting for him to just communicate at times.  Sometimes it gets to be too much for my mom.  Sometimes it’s just too hard and exhausting and overwhelming . . .  and that’s where we come in.  Mom’s support system.  The times she gets to laugh with Greenlea.  The phone calls she gets from Shana.  The glass of bottle of wine we share while venting about all of life’s unfairness but still thanking God for all of the blessings we have.

And that’s exactly what I think of when I think of the “Power of Us.”  We all rely so heavily on one another–one of us will pick up and help carry the burden when we can’t seem to put one foot in front of the other.  The power of us helps us to continue forward, focusing on all of the good when everything seems so hard.  It helps us to laugh when we’re overwhelmed and just want to cry.  There is power in us . . . power that would never be accessible to just one of us.

Wearing:

Sole Society Pasha Strappy Sandal (In cognac, but I’m kind of obsessed with the paprika color and it’s also available in a light cream . . . true to size, I’m wearing a 7.5)

Sole Society Codiie Circle Bag: Available in cognac.

Free People Long Beach Tank: My new favorite tank, available in lots of colors, super comfy, and flattering for just $20.

Free People Lace Racerback Bralette: Also a favorite, in lots of colors and super comfortable.

American Eagle Denim X Midi Short: These run small so I’d size up. I’m wearing a size 10 – usually a size 6/28.

Mom Wearing:

Sole Society Phoenix Strappy Sandal in French Taupe (also in a cool yellow color)

Sole Society Roe Taupe Bag (also in cognac and black)

J. Crew Toothpick Jean in White (available in tall, regular and petite sizes, Mom wearing a 26P)

Striped Tank: (Similar) I also love this striped cotton tank.

 

XOXO,

Scotti

A huge thank you to Sole Society for sponsoring this post (and giving us the perfect excuse to have a little wine time). As always, all thoughts, opinions, and product selections are completely my own.

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About Author

Meet Scotti, the contributor with our most-loved beauty advice. When Scotti’s not giving us the scoop on the latest products and techniques she’s dishing out some of TME’s most loved looks. It’s not easy to look so cute in the U.P. of Michigan (i.e. crazy cold and snow) but she always makes it happen.

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30 Comments

  1. Such a lovely post. It brought tears to my eyes as my family has the same situation – dad diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s at 55 and me and my three sisters are amazed at the grace and strength of our mom as she cares for our dad.

    • Yes! I’ve been trying to only buy shoes that I can actually wear without killing my feet and mom and I both commented on how comfy they were . . . I always like a bit of a heel, but not so much that I can’t walk a good amount. The leather is super soft as well!

  2. I’m sorry for what your family is going thru, but seems a bit weird to be shilling clothing links at the same time.

    • No, it’s a clothing blog. With stories, anecdotes, little glimpses of life along the way. Not weird at all.

  3. Elizabeth Rafter on

    This is a really beautifully written post. My dad died on August 3rd of last year and it is still a daily struggle for me (and the rest of my family, too, I’m sure). He was only 65 and had esophageal cancer. For the last year he was pretty sick, but really sick for the last few months. It was almost as much a struggle for my mom, his primary caretaker, as for him. It still is for her. I’m so sorry you are all going through this. But know that having each other really does help. It doesn’t make it easy, but it does help. Best of luck to you all, especially your mom (who’s freakin’ adorable, btw!) You will be in my thoughts.

    • I got teary-eyed reading your story. Echoing Elizabeth’s comments, my mom is in a similar situation as my dad’s caregiver and it’s hard. Having a support system is so important and it’s great that you guys can be there for each other to laugh & cry. Best wishes to you & your sweet family.

    • Thank you for this . . . support in the form of prayers, comments, positive thoughts and similar stories DO help so much. It’s just nice to know you aren’t alone.

  4. Lovely! Thank you so much for posting. I think of fashion and beauty as part of our armor – giving us confidence and joy to face the uncertainties and difficulties of life – and I love how TME team gets this. Love and strength to you, your amazing mom, your whole family.

  5. I am a geriatric nurse and I know how hard it is on caregivers, especially spouses and children, to give of themselves each and every day. My mom was my dad’s caregiver before he passed away. I’ll also add that once a caregiver can no longer manage their loved one at home, nurses like me are blessed to be able to step in and help. But long term care and geriatric care is overwhelmed and we need more good nurses, assistants, therapists, and volunteers to work with the ones who are in our care. Bless your sweet momma and you girls too!

    • YOU are doing such important work . . . so, so thankful for people like you. I remember when my Grandma was in her nursing home, she had the best nurses. So caring and thoughtful. They made us feel so much better about her being there.

  6. My utmost respect goes out to your Mom. LBD is a very difficult disease to live with and to witness. I used to work with lovely folks at Penn Medicine’s Frontotemporal Degeneration Center – FTD is related to LBD, ALS, Parkinsons and Alzhiemer’s disease as well – and they host a bi-annual caregiver conference for people with the range of diseases related to FTD. Perhaps your mom would want to come to Philly for it next year? It was amazing to see how much the caregivers who attended took away from the conference when I was there.
    https://ftd.med.upenn.edu/

    • THANK YOU. This is wonderful information and a perfect opportunity as Shana lives in Philly . . . a great reason to visit!

  7. I love this. You have such a sweet family. My family has also been through some…ish…and it’s so hard sometimes. The best thing to do, as you know, is to focus on your blessings and take breaks once in a while. Sending you all hugs.

  8. This is such a beautiful tribute to both your parents. My dad was diagnosed with Parkinson’s at the age of 46. It progressed into Lewy bodies and he battled the horrible effects of dementia. Even as he struggled in mind and body, my dad inspired me to face life’s challenges with courage, grace and humor. He passed away 10 years ago after an amazing 20 years battling the disease. Peace and blessings to your family on this journey. Praying you continue to celebrate the gifts, even as you grieve the losses, along the way.

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