Friday, December 5, 2014

Life is for Living

To say I am proud of my mom is an understatement. She overcame a tragic childhood, raised three children on our dad's modest income, and eventually became a widow after 44 years of marriage. 

Upon moving in with Hubby, the boys, and me, she made our town her own. She cannot go to the mall, downtown business district, or Walmart without running into someone she knows and engaging in hugs and pleasant conversation. 

Last summer, she was diagnosed with Alzheimer's. It was a harsh blow to us all, most especially her. She has always been an avid reader, loves crossword puzzles, and goes above and beyond to eat healthy. We grew up understanding portion sizes and the importance of a liberal helping of vegetables. But none of that warded off the diagnosis. 

Rather than wallow in thoughts of what could have been or question why, she bought puzzle books, added an extra workout day at the local YMCA, participated in a fundraiser for Alzheimer's research, and openly shared her diagnosis with her friends. 

She is still alive, so she lives, regardless of doctor appointments, tests, and medications. She still makes cloth dolls, paints, and enjoys outings with her friends several times a week: dinner, art gallery openings, plays, concerts, shopping.

Compassion gets us through the tougher moments indicative of mid-stage Alzheimer's; laced with confusion, forgetfulness, frustration, and diminishing independence. Love helps us see beyond it.

Prior to her diagnosis, she planned to visit California through a Senior Adult Center sponsored tour. As her main caregiver, looking out for her and helping her through the illness, I had my reservations about such a big trip. But she's still Ella. She's still an adventurous, fun-loving woman who never met a stranger. She is still alive, so she lives. The trip turned out to be a great adventure; one that we will both cherish in our hearts for a long time to come, regardless of the effects of the disease.

My camera is filled with hundreds of digital memories from our California adventure. But the selfies we took along the way were my favorites. Much of the time, sun and glare kept us from being able to see what we were posting. Much to our surprise and pleasure, each selfie beautifully captured a big life that still has much living to do, alongside a thankful life drinking in the wisdom still pouring forth from her mother.

Arrival | Navigating Hectivity by Micki Bare
Arrival in San Francisco
Ice Cream Break | Navigating Hectivity by Micki Bare
Ice Cream Break at the Wharf
Napa Wine Train | Navigating Hectivity by Micki Bare
Napa Valley Wine Train
(we had help with this selfie so we could include the logo)
Old Sacramento | Navigating Hectivity by Micki Bare
Old Sacramento
Sacramento Amtrak Station | Navigating Hectivity by Micki Bare
Sacramento Amtrak Station
Truckee California | Navigating Hectivity by Micki Bare
Truckee, California
Virginia City Nevada | Navigating Hectivity by Micki Bare
Virginia City, Nevada
Enterprise | Navigating Hectivity by Micki Bare
Surviving Offices of Mark Twain's Newspaper
Territorial Enterprise
Tahoe Queen | Navigating Hectivity by Micki Bare
Tahoe Queen Ferry on Lake Tahoe
Micki Bare, mother of three, wife, daughter & writer is the author of Thurston T. Turtle children's books. 
Email: mickibare (at)
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Copyright 2014 Michele Bare 

1 comment:

  1. What an awesome gift you will have for a lifetime!