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Ever few years my mothers birthday, November 27th, would always land on Thanksgiving Day. This is that year. Sadly for us, she passed away on October 12, 2014. The four of us kids were able to be present with her at the time of her passing, 6:15am on a Sunday morning.
I spent the last week with her on the earth loving her. After having spent the previous 9 years caring for my mother, I had moved my mother back up to northern California to live close to her other 3 children. Chrislaine, my middle sister, had taken on the role of primary caregiver and my mother was now living in a nursing home down the street from her house.
Mom had been diagnosed with dementia at the age of 59. I was just 25 at the time and the reality of her imminent decline was surreal at first. She had been diagnosed with a brain tumor that was affecting her memory and emotions. A portion of the brain tumor was removed and the remaining portion,which was located in the brain stem region (too risky for the surgeon to operate on) was treated with radiation. One of the major side effects from the radiation was that it burned the fluid levels in her ears and she no longer had equilibrium and was now a fall risk. The realization that she was going to need regular support, someone to take care of her, was unimaginable at this stage in my life. I wanted her to hold off on needing help for at least another 15 years (thinking if she can wait til i’m old and in my 40’s - then I’ll be ready to care for her). I now consider someone in their 80’s to be young. I have also been able to realize that regardless of your age, whether you are a daughter, spouse, niece, grandson or neighbor taking care of an aging loved one is hard regardless of which role you play in their life.
We decided that we are going to celebrate her again with lifetime family and friends from our growing up years. In honor of the beautiful Maud Grace Pamphile we will be having a party this Saturday evening, hosted at one of our neighbors homes who still lives across the street from our childhood home of 20+ years. Taking opportunities to remember all the goodness that she embodied with all of the good people she brought into our lives. We're gonna have fun celebrating and reminiscing and literaly strolling down memory lane.