March 23, 2017

A Love Letter to Mom

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.

By March 23, 2017 29 No tags Permalink
29 Comments
  • Belinda
    March 23, 2017

    beautiful…

    • Christy Hartman
      March 23, 2017

      Ditto

  • CS
    March 23, 2017

    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.

    • Scotti
      March 30, 2017

      Prayers to you . . . early-onset at 55! So young . . . too young!

  • Christy Hartman
    March 23, 2017

    I love those sandals. Could you walk all day in them?

    • Scotti
      March 30, 2017

      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!

  • Tambra
    March 23, 2017

    Prayers of strength for your mom! We love seeing her on the blog! 😘

  • Patricia Shepard
    March 23, 2017

    Beautiful inside & out. <3

  • Christa
    March 23, 2017

    Amazing!

  • Megan
    March 23, 2017

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

  • Elizabeth Rafter
    March 23, 2017

    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.

    • Camille
      March 23, 2017

      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.

    • Scotti
      March 30, 2017

      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.

  • Aunt Jan
    March 24, 2017

    ❤️

  • Jennifer
    March 24, 2017

    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.

    • Scotti
      March 30, 2017

      This is a beautiful way to put it . . . fashion and beauty as “armor.” Exactly. Thank you for this!

  • Kari
    March 24, 2017

    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!

    • Meg
      March 24, 2017

      Thank you so much for the work that you do! Nurses are the best.

    • Scotti
      March 30, 2017

      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.

  • Jo B.
    March 24, 2017

    Thanks for sharing your family’s story. Relationships are the glue of life and you essay illustrates this beautifully

  • Kim
    March 24, 2017

    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/

    • Scotti
      March 30, 2017

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

  • Steve Lindberg
    March 24, 2017

    Love you Ostwald women and the smartest man I ever knew too.

  • Rachael
    March 24, 2017

    Love you my dear ❤❤❤ big hugs to you and the family. Tell your mom she looks radiant as always.

  • Frances
    March 26, 2017

    Lovely tribute to the love your family shares

  • ami am
    March 27, 2017

    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.

  • Scotti
    March 30, 2017

    Thank you . . . blessings, breaks and hugs!

  • Beth
    March 30, 2017

    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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