When my dad was first diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2016, he was lucky to have this woman by his side. Judy took care of him as long as she could, until the professionals told her it was time to let them take over. She still came to see him, bringing his beloved poodle and ice cream to his nursing home, until the pandemic shut her out. When she finally got back in to see her husband of 30 years, she fed him like a baby. When he got upset, she would kiss him on his balding head and whisper in his ear, “Hi John it’s me, Judy, your wife.” Dad would calm down. In his last moments in this sphere, this woman was by his side.
In the first days after Dad’s death, Judy and I went out for fish fry and pie. Driving through Wisconsin farm land, we talked about Dad. The seven year anniversary of Mom’s death was approaching. I was now an orphan, a parentless child, I said. “You have me,” this woman said.
I have Judy. And I have Bettie, my husband’s mom. Happy Mother’s Day to Judy and Bettie, and to all the mothers out there, by birth and by choice.