After my mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, her world became increasingly smaller.
It started with losing her ability to drive. She could no longer go out anywhere unless someone else was able to take her. Since my dad was still working full-time, she would have to wait until he got home from work or had the day off to go out. If my sister or I had the day off, we would pick her up to go out, but still, she lost a huge piece of her independence when she lost the ability to drive.
After some time, it was no longer safe for my mom to leave her house by herself at all. She could not walk out the front door to get the mail, let alone go for a walk down the street or in the neighborhood alone. She could get lost, forget where she lived, or be unable to get back inside her house when she was done.
With even more time, she became unable to even unlock or open the door by herself. She was essentially a prisoner in her own home, unable to get out unless someone was there to open the door for her. She couldn’t even go sit on her back porch by herself.
Eventually, my mom was no longer able to stand up or walk on her own. She became a prisoner to her chair in the family room unless someone was there to help her get up and walk into another room. Her world became much smaller then, reduced to her chair or a wheelchair on only the first floor of her house, as she was no longer able to go up the stairs.
It wasn’t long before my mom’s world became even smaller, as she was no longer able to leave her house at all anymore. No matter who was there to help her, it was no longer safe or reasonable for her to go anywhere. She became a prisoner to three rooms in her house, which she was transported to and from in her wheelchair.
In the end, my mom’s world shrunk down to one little corner of her house, where she laid in a hospital bed for the rest of her life. Her world was limited to that bed in that room and only those people who chose to come visit her.
While I am so sad that my mom is gone and I miss her so much, I find comfort in knowing that her world has grown exponentially since she took her last breath. Her world is bigger now than it ever was before.
Her world is no longer in that bed in that one little corner of her house.
Now, her world is everywhere.
Her world is in the clouds and sky, the sun and moon, the wind and rain.
Her world is in the birds that sing and the leaves that fall from the trees.
Her world is at home with my dad in Delaware, taking walks to the pond at the front of the neighborhood and down by the river or the canal.
Her world is at home with me in New Jersey, sitting by the front window writing and taking Oakley and Lucy for walks around the neighborhood.
Her world is at home with my sister, Melissa, in Maryland, chasing the girls around and having dance parties with them in the living room.
Her world is with Charlotte at preschool, learning to read and write and play nicely with friends.
Her world is with Millie at daycare, chasing the owner’s dog around and learning how to share her toys.
Her world is everywhere.
So while I am sad that she is no longer a part of this world, I know that she is a part of everything in it.
She is with everyone all at once.
She is a part of everything we do.
She is everywhere.
And so is her love.