Mom’s Last Words

So, mom was a photo journalism major. She used words and used them well though, like many other mothers of the late 1940s and 1950s she elected motherhood and community service over career…it seemed more of an either/or matter in those days. Anyway the journalist in her came out in her letter-writing and in her conversation. Until Alzheimer’s hit. With my mom, one of the things this took away from her was her speech. She could make sounds, but that is all they were–sounds unintelligible. It had been years since she’d uttered a word or phrase although she did still vocalize. One day, like every day, dad was sitting with her and she started making sounds. There was inflection, pacing, a cadence, yet still nothing more to the listener than sounds. She went on in earnest, longer than usual, then she paused, made direct eye contact with my dad, patted her own leg and as clear as anything she said “and that’s all I’m going to say about that!” It was clear and emphatic. That phrase was so completely “mom”. Dad was amused and also ecstatic thinking perhaps she had words and speech again. Alas, it was not to be. Those are not the last time mom ever talked again, but those are the last literal words we heard and understood from her. I love these words.

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