I’m not gonna miss you

Yesterday, a friend sent me a link to Glen Campbell’s final music video with the comment that she found the song comforting. I do too, but…click the link, I’ll wait.

I have watched this video and listened intently to the words, oh, probably a dozen times since. I am alternately heart broken and comforted, watching through streaming tears, hoping against hope that what he says is true.

It’s not gonna hurt me when you cry
I’m never gonna know what you go through
All the things I say or do
All the hurt and all the pain
One thing selfishly remains
I’m not gonna miss you
I’m not gonna miss you

“I’m Not Gonna Miss You” by Glen Campbell – (C) 2014 Big Machine Records, LLC

Glen was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2011 and recorded this song, his final performance, in January 2013. It is an incredible and touching tribute to his wife and family, and a brave step to shine a light on a disease that is poised to become an epidemic as the huge population of baby boomers ages. In April he was admitted to a specialized facility for the final stage of Alzheimer’s.

As many of you know, my mom was diagnosed in 2012, and due to her decline, we recently had to move her from Assisted Living to a specialized Memory Care unit as well. Though she still knows me, and most of the time she knows that I am her daughter, I am not sure she remembers my name.

With her decline, I am trying to change my behavior to meet her where she is, rather than try to bring her back to my world. I tell her my name when I see her now. I use the names of my sister, my nephew, and my husband whenever I refer to them. I remind her that my father/her husband passed away, how many siblings I have, how many grandchildren she has, or that her first language was German. She usually replies “Oh, I didn’t know that”.

My mother and I had a difficult relationship for most of my life, and really didn’t spend any significant time together as adults until she was diagnosed and I moved her to be near me almost two years ago. Growing up, I was a daddy’s girl, but my father passed away when I was just 22. I was a tomboy, and loved horses, then cars, and then motorcycles. I didn’t care much about fashion, or makeup, or shopping, which were common interests for my mom and sister, and they were always both much slimmer and more fashionable than me. I compared myself to them, and never developed a healthy body image, nor had any help in cultivating one. In the last few years, with a focus on exercise, yoga, meditation and an overhaul of my eating habits, I have finally come in to my own. I feel good in my own skin. Yesterday, in this stage of Mom’s Alzheimer’s, she gave me a gift she couldn’t give me growing up.

We were at her dentist, waiting for the hygienist. I went to the counter to check in, and then returned to sit next to her in the waiting area. She started to speak; “You have a nice…” and could not find the words to finish her thought. She made the hourglass figure with her hands. I said “figure?” And she said “yes, you look good!” I struggled to keep from crying in the waiting room. I have cried over and over since, reliving that moment, that genuine gift, that I never could have expected, knowing the moments that she can express herself will grow farther and farther between.

I know that it’s only going to get worse. More than anything, being with Mom reminds me that we must live for the NOW, moment by moment. We have to enjoy them while we can. My only comfort is to think that as she declines, it will become less and less painful for her.

She’s not gonna miss me.


Advertisements

12 thoughts on “I’m not gonna miss you

  1. Beautiful, simply beautiful. If our paths ever cross and I get the chance to meet you in person, I know it will be a gift. Thank you so much for sharing this beautiful post.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wendy, you are so kind, and I do hope that our paths do cross one day on the road, it would be a gift for both of us!

      If you are ever in the North Georgia area, please do give me a shout, and when we hit the road, we’ll try to catch up with you. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow, what a heart-rending post. Glen’s story is sad but you exceeded it with your personal anecdote. I wish you the best in dealing with your mom’s condition.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. […] October: This is my favorite month, hands down. I love fall; the crisp air, the gorgeous colors of autumn, and the fact that it is our wedding anniversary month doesn’t hurt. This October brought the long-awaited anniversary motorcycle trip to Virginia and West Virginia, which I captured in a series of posts that started here: October anniversary trip day 1. If you are interested, each post provides a link at the bottom to take you to the next installment. I managed to publish 3 of the series in the calendar month. We capped off the wonderful trip with happily attending the re-opening of our neighborhood pub, Shenanigan’s, after seven long months of rebuilding! In another happy October occurrence, Women Riders Now (WRN) published another one of my articles, this time in their newsletter and on their website and I was tickled to announce that in this blog post: WRN publishes always ride the curvy roads. And then lastly, in the midst of all this happiness, a friend sent me a link to the video of Glen Campbell’s last song, I’m Not Gonna Miss You. As Glen plunged into the depths of Alzheimer’s, he wanted to let his family know that he wouldn’t be the one to suffer. It prompted me to write this post about my mother: I’m not gonna miss you. […]

    Like

What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s