It was a long transition for my Mom. Eight years as she moved farther and farther away from us, from the Mom I had known my whole life.
Dementia is a strange process. At first the disconnects were random, infrequent. She was still Mom, for the most part. As time passed, the disconnects became the norm, and the rare flashes of her old self became rarer, though each served as a reminder of the woman who once lived in that aging body.
In the past year, there had been signs that the end was nearing. My sister is wiser in such things, and she knew that last week Mom began taking her final lap around the track.
We were both torn between wanting her to go peacefully, and not wanting her to go at all. It was made less painful to realize that we had lost her years before. Still, you are never quite ready when death finally arrives.
And at 5:30 AM today it arrived for Mom. Just a month shy of 98 years, she had a great run for nine decades. And in the end, just as we had hoped, she simply went to sleep and did not wake up.
She loved her kids, she loved her long-deceased husband, she loved teaching, she loved music, she loved the Lutheran church, she loved laughing and she loved her memories. An incurable optimist (except about the weather), my Mom invariably found the good in life. Everything (except the weather) was a “blessing in disguise”—even when the disguise was pretty good.
And that’s how I’ll try to remember her. Not the distant, slightly familiar old woman locked inside her own head and failing body, but the funny, optimistic Mom who was always there for me…even when I didn’t really want her to be.
As a teacher, Mom valued thinking and good handwriting. I remember practicing my cursive for hours on end, tightly grasping my #2 pencil as I carefully wrote each letter in upper case and lower case on heavy lined paper. It didn’t help; to this day, my handwriting resembles that of a doctor with nerve damage.
And so, it’s time for final goodbyes, goodbyes that began eight years ago.
Go in Peace, Mom. And I’ll keep working on the handwriting.
Augusta S. Lehmann
Service Tuesday, September 3, 2013, at 7:00 PM
Morris Nilsen Chapel, 6527 Portland Ave. S., Richfield.
Visitation one hour prior to the service. Interment Ft. Snelling.
Memorials to Lake Nokomis Lutheran Church.