A Letter from a Mother to a Daughter

motherdaughter

Happy Mother’s Day! As a daughter I’d like to dedicate this post to all mothers but especially to aging mothers. If you’re in your sixties as I am and perhaps lucky to still have your Mother she is probably in her 80’s or 90’s. I lost my mother a few years ago, she was courageous, and resilient and had a big heart, she loved her family and always forgiving of our sometimes mind-numbing acts.  For many women born in the first quarter of the 1900’s, they learned to survive regardless of what life handed them. My mother was one of them. Born in 1922 she was one of six children. By the time she was seven both her parents had died. Separated from her sibling and placed in an orphanage for two years until an Uncle came from Italy, found all six of his sister’s children and adopted them. They were dirt poor, lived in a two room tenement in New York City but they had love, faith, hope and most important, each other. People were easily drawn to my mother; I think because her childhood was filled with such deprivation it made her deeply grateful for the good life she got to live.

As my mother aged we became close and she shared with me stories she never spoke of before. And when she became ill I took care of her until she died. My mother passed away in my arms and in here home where she wanted to be. An enormous amount of peace and love passed between us and I’m forever grateful for the words spoken between us and time shared.

The letter below was given to me by my mother, she did not write it and I don’t know who the author is but its words were the right words at the right time as our roles in each other’s lives began to change.

Taking care of an aging parent is tuff stuff but it’s what you make of it. In hindsight, for me it was like receiving an unexpected gift.

Letter from a Mother to a Daughter:

“My dear girl, the day you see I’m getting old, I ask you to please be patient, but most of all, try to understand what I’m going through. If when we talk, I repeat the same thing a thousand times, don’t interrupt to say: “You said the same thing a minute ago”… Just listen, please. Try to remember the times when you were little and I would read the same story night after night until you would fall asleep. When I don’t want to take a bath, don’t be mad and don’t embarrass me. Remember when I had to run after you making excuses and trying to get you to take a shower when you were just a girl? When you see how ignorant I am when it comes to new technology, give me the time to learn and don’t look at me that way… remember, honey, I patiently taught you how to do many things like eating appropriately, getting dressed, combing your hair and dealing with life’s issues every day… the day you see I’m getting old, I ask you to please be patient, but most of all, try to understand what I’m going through. If I occasionally lose track of what we’re talking about, give me the time to remember, and if I can’t, don’t be nervous, impatient or arrogant. Just know in your heart that the most important thing for me is to be with you. And when my old, tired legs don’t let me move as quickly as before, give me your hand the same way that I offered mine to you when you first walked. When those days come, don’t feel sad… just be with me, and understand me while I get to the end of my life with love. I’ll cherish and thank you for the gift of time and joy we shared. With a big smile and the huge love I’ve always had for you, I just want to say, I love you… my darling daughter. “

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