Last week someone asked me to describe my mom before she got sick. However, try as I might, I only have a handful of memories of her before everything went to Hell in a handbasket. Of course, this isn't some sort of pity party. Well, maybe it is a little...but mostly for her.
Honestly, I actively work to NOT remember because it inevitably leads me to the bottom of a dark well: Ardie Ho-Ho was royally screwed in this life. I mean, that's what it's really about, right? She lost everything. What's worse is that she is somewhat aware of this fact.
But recently, I've wanted to learn more about her. I have her medical history down pat, but I don't know, did she always douse herself in unhealthy amounts of perfume? Was it only once that she and her good friend Candy were escorted out of a sketchy Chicago neighborhood by a friendly pimp?
So here is my request to any and everyone with whom she crossed paths: Please share your stories with me so I can remind her of all of her successes (and failures). Tell me about her first date or a stolen cigarette break. What was it about her that made my dad's brothers go ga-ga? How did she react when she was diagnosed with MS? Who were her high school boyfriends? Did she always like to wear low-cut tops and giant beaded necklaces?
Write a poem or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Send a letter with a picture or post a story in the comment section. Hell, I'll even transcribe a story over a phone call.
Maybe it will make me miss her more or fill in gaps and help me see she's led a full life; I just want to remember her...even if they aren't my memories.
And, of course, I will share the stories (with the storyteller and Ho-Ho's permission) over at Cradle to Grave Caregiving (what? ain't no need to sugar coat the life cycle). Go subscribe to the page and like it on Facebook so you don't miss any updates from other honest caregivers.
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