She was a wife of 55 years, a Mother of six, grandmother of seven and great grandmother of six. She and my Father had a wonderful, happy marriage and us six kids were truly blessed to be raised by parents so committed and so in love til the very end…my Mother, LouVonnia, was a artist in every sense of the word. She hand cut, pieced and quilted quilts that have been sold all over the USA. She crafted, made Flora arraignments, and was an interior decorator. So gifted, she was a hard act to follow.
The day a Dad put her sewing machine and quilting frames away, was the dayI knew, Mom wasn’t coming back to us. I cried.
In 2010 she was diagnosed with the early stages of Alzheimer’s. As a family we were devastated by this news, and researched to understand. There were obvious signs she’s was slipping away from us on a daily basis. However, the irony is that her whole life she had been an introvert, afraid of people and really, just about everything. Home was her safe haven, Dad was her knight in shinning armour. During this stage she wanted to see everyone and anyone, talked to strangers as if she knew them her whole life, she became free from the phobias that had held her prisoner for so many years. Trips to restaurants now became a twice a day adventure. For this phase, I am happy for her – it was probably the most uninhibited time of her life.
As the disease progressed, she became silent for long periods of time, sometimes she’d cry as a lost, lone child asking to see her Mommy and Daddy. My Father, ever dedicated to the woman he loved, would put her in the car, drive her to the cemeteries and show her where her patents and other loved ones were buried. She would look so confused and it was heart breaking for in this stage, she was a little girl, yet she knew Dad was a significant person in her life.
In 2012 this horrible disease drained the life right out of my dear sweet Mother. It was aggressive at this point, but she never was. The night she was put in “the serenity room” I began singing her favorite gospel songs, while rocking in a rocking chair. My sister suddenly said, “April, Moms awake” ( she had not been conscious for three days and had not known any of us longer).
I told my sister to go get Angie, our other sister. I looked in my Mothers eyes and said, “Mom this is April, do you know me?” She nodded her head yes. My heart was aching so bad I could hardly talk. “Mom do you want a sip of water?” Again, she nodded her head yes. My sisters had returned saying “we love you Mom” and she mouthed “I love you” suddenly her right hand grasped my wrist and I said, “you know I love, don’t you Mom” she nodded her head yes, then slowly closed her eyes. To me this was a miracle.
Three hours later, as I’m still rocking and singing her favorite gospel songs, she drew her last breath. And I’m still holding mine.