The photo you see in my profile is of my mom and I. It was taken on Friday, April 12, 2013; the night I got engaged to my husband, Jacob. It was such an exciting and joyous time for both of our families. My mom was her usual outgoing and social self that night and enjoyed meeting Jacob's family for the first time as we all celebrated our upcoming nuptials. It would be more than a year from that night when my mom would receive her Alztheimers diagnosis.
My father whom my mom always called "her best friend" is one of the kindest, most generous, intelligent and loving people that I know. He was always there for my mom, my brother, and I and would have given us the shirt off his back if we needed it. He worked 3 jobs so my mother could stay home and raise us for 9 years before going back to her job. They were both teachers before they retired at the age of 55. My father taught math at a run down high school in the Bronx and my mother taught English As A Second Language(ESL) at the elementary level. She studied the 'romance languages' in college and was able to speak Spanish, Italian, French, and Latin. The kids adored her because she was kind to them and really cared deeply about providing them a proper education. My mom would tell me stories about how she didn't even have a classroom to teach in. She had to pull the kids out of class and teach them in a designated hallway. The conditions weren't great. There was no AC in the summer and my mother bringing her own toilet paper and soap with her seemed to be a daily occurance because the school would run out of supplies. It wasn't easy for her, but she was a wonderful teacher and figured out how to maintain the balance between work and family life. There was always a fresh meal on the table and a steaming hot chocolate ready to drink when coming in from the cold.
My mother had many facets to her personality, but one that stood out was her ability to laugh at herself and be goofy. Along with her lighthearted nature, my mom was always clumsy, made silly jokes, was somewhat cautious and occasionally forgetful. We never thought anything of it when she would lose her purse or her keys often or even misplace her jewelry. It wasn't until the day she was driving back on a highway that she had been driving for 30 plus years that she forgot where she was, became confused and had to call my father to help get her home that we knew somethimg wasn't right. In the next 3 years, my mom's health started to decline. Her vision deterioriated, she began to have trouble performing daily tasks like meal preperation or even going out to get the paper. She was no longer able to drive, food shop or boil a pot of tea. My father was very much in denial for a long time. My parents would tell my brother and I that the doctors were trying to trick my mother with this crazy protocol testing that she continued to fail. It was heartbreaking to say the least but there was no more denying that my mom had Alztheimers.
I was lucky enough for my mom to be in pretty good mental health when Jacob and I got married in May of 2014. In March of 2016 our daughter Emma was born and then in April of 2017 our son Jaxon came into the world to complete our family. I never imagined that my mom wouldn't be able to be there with me when I delivered our children and to experience that with me. It was a time when I needed my mom more than ever. I was a new mom and I was scared of what I didn't know yet.
My parents finally sold their house in NY recently that they lived in for 45 years and currently reside in southern Florida where they enjoy the warmer weather and an easier lifestyle. My mom is in the advanced stages of this horrific disease at the age of 72 and has recently begun to forget who I am, but it's still my hope that our connection lives on in her heart and legacy.
I'm sharing my story because I want to raise awareness and hope that my contributions will help expedite a cure. For all you new moms to be who are missing their moms, know that you aren't alone.
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