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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Memory (07/10/08)

TITLE: Irene, Irene... Goodnight, Irene
By Janet Hessert
07/16/08


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It seems so long ago that I first heard one of my mother’s friends sing to her the old tune of “Goodnight, Irene…. Goodnight, Irene… I’ll see you in my dreams.” Much time has passed since then, and my mother – Irene – has weathered many storms during that time. But she has not faced those difficulties alone. As the only daughter in our family, the one who has always “lived in town”, and the lone medical professional in the bunch, I have had the opportunity to be her nurse, her advocate, her cook, her caregiver, her financial overseer and – for the least amount of times these days - her child. When one reads or talks about “role reversal” with parents and children, words cannot truly capture the emotion that accompanies such a change. No one warned me that my memory of “Mom” as my parent – my caregiver – would so drastically fade away as I carry out the tasks of being her caregiver. More and more, I find myself grasping for memories of her in that maternal role of providing comfort and security to me – I know she did many, many times, but the reality of meeting so many of her physical, social, and emotional needs so routinely these days makes those memories seem more distant than ever. I want to hang onto the “warm and fuzzy” recollections of those earlier years when she - more often than not - was a spunky, humorous soul who filled the lives of others with joy. Depending on the day, she still has that ability and can make others laugh with her sense of humor, but these times can be overshadowed by depression and physical illness. In order to refuel my energies and enhance my ability to give back to Mom, I need to hang onto precious memories as well as build new ones. Memories… I need them to stay… I’m not ready to say goodnight to them yet.


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Member Comments
Member Date
Dee Yoder 07/18/08
Wow, I'm where you are in my life, too. With my dad having Alzheimer's and my mom suffering from depression, I am indeed a "sandwich"-pressed from both sides! (I still have a child just starting high school, too.) I also try to remember my parents as they once were, but you're right: it gets harder every day. Isn't it funny how memories can comfort and bring sadness all at the same time?
Marlene Austin07/19/08
Touching account of what many are going through. Good organization of clear, detailed thoughts. :)