I can't tell you how many times I have sat down to write this blog post but then didn't because I kept telling myself this story isn't mine to tell.
Lately, I have closed my computer and wondered, "Maybe someone else needs to hear this story so they don't feel so alone or feel like a "bad daughter."
So this is how my story begins.
I have become a new kind of parent. The parent of a parent. And I have found that this stage in my life is much more difficult than parenting either of my own children.
My mother is one of the strongest, bravest, and most driven women I know. At the age of 40, she found herself divorced and raising four kids on her own. Without knowing a single person, she moved four hours away from our hometown to start a new life.
Mom worked in the automotive industry, an industry that was dominated by men. She worked for companies based out of China and Japan, where women were typically not promoted into higher management positions. She moved and lived in China for two years where she helped open a new plant in Shanghai. She didn't know a single person, but she became very successful.
Sadly, after all those challenges, she is now living the most difficult part of her 78 years of life. My mom is in the beginning stage of dementia. She tells the same stories over and over. She can't remember what she had to eat for lunch or why she is calling someone, but she can remember a childhood story with such clarity and vivid details.
The brain is such a complex organ. And each day my siblings and I try to understand it more. What we do know is that dementia has changed our mother. Each day becomes more difficult.
We had to make some tough decisions this past week. Decisions that took away my mom's independence. And being on her own for almost half her life, independent has really been her life story.
We know these decisions, and the ones to come, are what is best for her even when she gets angry at us. Getting her to understand this, when reasoning skills are deteriorating, is not easy.
I want to keep the details of her story private, yet I know other people are writing the same chapters as we are. I hope by continuing to share parts of our journey, others will find comfort in them.