After filling mom’s new room in assisted living and filling a storage unit, this is what we had left.

This is my living room.  We still have walking paths to the TV and the furniture, but I won’t be doing yoga in there anytime soon. 

I also I have a few pieces of furniture in the middle of my dining room.  I didn’t realize how much stuff we moved into her last apartment.  What were we thinking?

Now I’m working through the piles deciding what to keep and what to do with the rest.  Sometimes I smile when I come across a wonderful memory.  Other times I choke back tears as I’m reminded of what we’ve all lost to the dementia. 

I’m coming to understand, as best as I can without going through it myself, the depth of her loneliness.  Decades of pictures capture the smiling faces of so many that have passed.  Our memories connect us to the past, to friends and family, celebrations and adventures.  Without those memories the feeling of isolation must be overwhelming.

The next time I visit mom I’m taking some of the pictures with me to see if they help her remember the good times.  If not, that’s OK.  We’ll talk about the pictures anyway.

The value is in the time shared.

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