What My Mother Knew That Took Me 20 Years to Find Out

My Mom was a big fan of my writing and said, “you should write a book.”

But I was too busy to write a book. I had a full-time job, three kids, and three dogs at home. Jessica, as documented in many blogs, needed help with every daily life skill.

The years passed, and in 2016 I retired as the manager of Early Childhood Direction Center, part of Kaleida Health. My two younger children got married, and Jessica had already moved into her own home within two miles of our home.

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I started writing. Every day for three years, I wrote. The result was a book called Raising Jess: A Story of Hope.

Unfortunately, as I was writing my book, my Mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. I wanted Mom to know that I finally agreed to write that book she carped about! After all the years, I finally did what she asked! And I loved every minute of it. Regretfully, it was too late to talk in-depth with Mom about the chapters and process. 

Mom’s speech became extremely limited, yet her awareness of what was going on around her remained strong. We understood that Mom knew what was happening to her, heartbreaking reality of her Alzheimer’s.  

One chapter in the book detailed an interview with Jessica’s grandparents. I went to Florida and spoke to my Mom, asking her delicate questions. 

Mom never had much of a filter, and Alzheimer’s only accentuated that trait.

I feel blessed that I was able to interview Mom for the book. She spoke slowly, with few words but honestly about her experience as a Grandmother to Jessica. Mom got her point across very clearly.

As the writing process proceeded from one year to the next, we knew that our time with Mom was closing. So, my dad and I decided that he would read each completed chapter of the book to Mom. As each section was finished, I emailed it to my dad. The chapters were still raw, but I wanted Mom to know that I was working on this dream before it was too late.

At that point, I didn’t know if the book would be accepted by a publisher or if I was writing for family history.

When the book was complete and accepted by the publisher, Dad put Mom on the phone. Talking on the phone with Mom was a part of my daily life before her illness. We spoke once or twice every day. Our phone time slowed and eventually stopped a couple of years ago. Mom’s speech and memory limited her ability to enjoy talking on the phone, it became extremely frustrating for her. So, getting on the phone at this time was a rarity. Mom spoke slowly and clearly and told me she loved the book! I wish I would have taped her review!  

The book: Raising Jess: A Story of Hope will be released in 2021 and dedicated to my Mom.

Dad, Jessica and Mom (Jessica’s Grandparents)

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