Nothing has taught me more about the passage of time than my mom’s journey with Alzheimer’s.
Over the past ten years, I have been amazed by time’s ability to both stand still and fly by at the exact same time. I always thought about that saying, “The days are long, but the years are short.” There’s so much truth in those words when you’re caring for someone with Alzheimer’s.
It’s so hard to believe my mom died eight months ago today. It feels like it was a long time ago, but also like it was just yesterday.
Contrary to what many people may think, the longer it’s been since she passed, the more surreal it feels, not less. You would think I would be used to it by now, but it still doesn’t seem possible.
The longer it’s been, the farther away she feels. I can’t believe it’s been so long since I saw her, hugged her, and told her I love her. It feels like it was in another lifetime. And I can’t believe I won’t get to do any of those things ever again.
Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about my mom’s life and her death. I’ve been replaying different scenes from throughout her battle with Alzheimer’s in my mind. I’ve been trying to remember everything I said to her, everything I did for her. Was it enough? Did she know how much I love her? I hope so.
I’ve also realized that although I’m so sad my mom is no longer with us, I’m even more sad thinking about all she had to endure during those ten long years. Why did she have to go through that? Why her? What could she have possibly done to deserve it? Nothing, of course. No one deserves it.
I find myself wanting to go back to the early days of my grief when it was all still fresh. I don’t want to move on with my life like nothing happened. I don’t want to act like it’s okay that she died. I still want her death to matter. I still want her life to matter. I don’t want to forget a single thing. I don’t want anyone else to forget either.
But that’s the problem with time. You can’t freeze it. You can’t slow it down or speed it up. No matter how much you want to, you can’t go back to the past or jump forward to the future. You are forced to live in the now, whatever that looks like for you, however it feels.
I have learned that you can either sit still and let the time pass you by or you can be an active participant in your life. I used to default to the former, but since my mom died I have realized that time is not a guarantee. We always think we’ll have more of it later to do all the things we want to do, but there’s just no guarantee of that.
The past eight months have flown by. Hell, the past ten years were gone in the blink of an eye. No matter what you do or don’t do, the time will pass anyway. You may as well try to make the most of it.
So, I am going to do my best to be an active participant in my life from here on out. As I always say, not in spite of my grief, but because of it.
And frankly, because I’m just so damn tired of being sad and miserable all the time.
I’ve been sad and miserable for long enough.
It’s time to be happy again.