A Mother's Endless Love: Reflections As a New Mama Caring for Her Mom With Dementia by Kimberly Chu

A Mother's Endless Love: Reflections As a New Mama Caring for Her Mom With Dementia

The night before Mother’s Day I dreamed I crawled into my mom’s bed for FaceTime, though our FaceTime has nothing to do with screens. It’s when my cheek is smothered against my husband’s (he secretly likes it). “I’m still here when you need me,” she said in my dream. I don’t often dream of her as she used to be. Sometimes I have a hard time remembering her before, when her eyes were always bright.

I’ve been missing her during these first wild weeks of motherhood. She didn’t notice Henry at first, but now she dances when he cries, as if his cry is the next song I ask Alexa to play. 

There was one day when I couldn’t stop missing her. Breastfeeding was anything but an art, and my dog’s belly was full of the supposed milk-making lactation cookies that took me all day to bake. Instead of laughing about this unbelievable adventure, or holding Henry, or holding me, she was staring at the clock, announcing the time with every minute that passed. I felt this overwhelming fury. What if someday I was floating farther and farther away from Henry, from this little boy who I miss when he sleeps, whose cheeks I could FaceTime forever, and whose smile makes my life extraordinary. I was so sad for her.

Then she said, “Good that you have him. He’s so good for you.” It may not have been cheek to cheek, but she gave us our FaceTime.

Moms, even when we feel like we are far from succeeding, trust that we will always find a way to be there for FaceTime. May we savor every moment of it.

Photos: Jennifer McKenna Photography

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Cassiday
This is beautiful
Kimberly Chu
Thank you so much!
Ann Marie Gardinier Halstead
Kimberly Chu , This is absolutely beautiful. Your mom and Henry are both so lucky to have you. Welcome to our community of writers.
Kimberly Chu
Thank you, Ann Marie! I’m so honored you invited me to be a part of this!
Elisa All Schmitz 30Seconds
This gave me goosebumps, it is so lovely. Thank you for sharing this with us, Kimberly Chu . I am so glad you are part of #30Seconds, and I look forward to learning and growing with you!
Kimberly Chu
Thank you, Elise! I’m so glad too! What a wonderful group of people!
Jessica Acree
Even through the struggle your mom knew exactly what you needed in that moment... <3 Pouring your heart out in tip #1 Kimberly Chu, brave and beautiful! Welcome to our #30Seconds tribe... :)
Kimberly Chu
She sure did. She just amazes me. Thank you for the lovely welcome!!
Mary Pat King
Gosh, I feel for you. What you describe is so spot on -- the missing/longing for someone right in front of you. And the yearning to freeze a moment when you see a flash of them again. My dad is end stage dementia. I have older kids - 8 and 10. I can't imagine going through this when they were infants. Something that helped me - grief counseling. She's become my life coach on my career and life ambitions. But she started as my grief counselor and she helped me to accept that's what we're feeling. Deep mourning that we try to keep over there until it's time to "really feel it." Only, we have every right to feel it now too. We've already said good bye to so much. Keep writing. It helps too. So does reading posts like this. Thank you for sharing.
Mary Pat King
I just saw that your mom has FTD - so does my dad. :( We need more awareness among caregivers, and more research to find a cause - and a cure. It's devastating. My dad is young and I'm guessing your mom is too. :( A thief of so much life.
Kimberly Chu
I’m so sorry about your dad. Thank you so much for sharing what has helped you. This is exactly the kind of conversation I haven’t always wanted to see more of, especially for FTD because it is quite rare. Yes, my mom is young too. It can be a lonely journey at times. It’s so important to share our experiences. Thank you, and much love to you and your family.
Debbie Howard
This is beautiful and touching, Kimberley - I hope you continue to find the moments and savor them!
Kimberly Chu
Thank you, Debbie! I am so grateful for these moments that shine through!

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