Gifts for Mom, Grandparents, Besties and YOU🎄 ➔

I’ll never forget the first time my mom looked at me and didn’t know who I was.

The mall was ridiculously crowded that day, the way it usually is around Christmastime. We navigated our way through the food court and my mom saved us a table in front of Saladworks. I could see her sitting there as I stood in line, waiting impatiently and feeling annoyed by all of the people.

Finally, I got our salads and drinks and walked back to where my mom had been sitting. As I approached the table and began putting my stuff down, she looked up at me and politely said, “I’m sorry, but someone is sitting here.” I just stared back at her, completely stunned by what she had just said. I replied, “Yeah, I know. I’m sitting here.” She looked confused and laughed nervously for a second. She said again, “Oh, I’m sorry. Someone is sitting here.”

My heart began to race as I quickly tried to process what was happening here. The chatter and buzz all around me continued on as if nothing was wrong, but for me, the whole world had stopped moving. Everything stood still. I was frozen in place, solely focused on this one woman sitting in front of me. Eventually, I was able to formulate a response. I said, “Yeah, Mom, I know. I’m sitting here. Mom, it’s me. Lauren.”

My mom looked even more confused and her cheeks became red with embarrassment. She quickly realized her mistake and tried to play it off as she continued laughing nervously. But I knew that she knew what had just happened. I knew that she also felt the significance of that moment. I introduced myself to my mom that day. It may have been the first time, but it definitely wasn’t the last. There were many more “first times” in the years that followed.

There was the first time she forgot how to get dressed. The first time she got lost in her own house and had to call me for help. The first time I helped her use the bathroom because she had completely forgotten what to do. There was the first time she forgot how to answer the phone and held it up to her ear upside down. The first time I said “I love you” and she didn’t say it back. The first time she got mad at me and yelled at me to get out of her house. There was the first time I helped her up after she had fallen down. The first time I pushed her in a wheelchair. The first time I fed her with a spoon.

That day at the mall was just the beginning of a long, heartbreaking journey. I lost so much more of my mom as the years went on.

The thing about Alzheimer’s is that you lose so much of the person along the way that by the end, you are practically begging for them to die. But at the same time, you dread the thought of it.

For years and years, you are mourning for someone who is still alive. It consumes every part of you, so much so that you begin to think you must be depressed. You are sad for no reason at all. The most random things make you cry. There are days when you wake up and feel like there’s no point in even getting out of bed. What’s the point of doing anything when your loved one is suffering so much and there’s nothing you can do about it? How can you possibly move on and continue to live your own life while your mom is slowly dying? It sounds like depression. It feels like depression. I’m sure it even looks like depression to others. It’s not. It’s grief.

People don’t understand that there is no closure with grief, whether you are grieving the living or the dead. Grief doesn’t just end or go away. It comes in waves, as they say. Eventually, the waves might be farther apart or smaller at times, but they never stop coming. Grief hits you at the most random times. It comes when you least expect it. I can’t tell you the toll it has taken on me over the last eight and a half years since my mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.

I am not who I used to be.

I am different now. I am sad. My heart and my soul are heavy.

But, no one wants to hear that. Everyone wants to hear that my mom is doing well, that I’m doing well. People don’t want to hear about all of the things my mom can no longer do. They don’t want to listen to me talk about how much I miss her. They don’t really want me to talk about her at all. A lot of people never even ask me about her anymore. It’s as if she’s already dead. Dead and gone and totally forgotten about. If someone does ask about her, I feel as though there is a time limit for how long I’m allowed to talk about her. Or a limit as to how much I can share. People eventually stop listening. It’s too hard. They stop liking or commenting on my Facebook posts about her, especially the sad ones. It’s too hard for them to read about my harsh reality.

My grief for my mom is soul-crushing. It’s life-altering. It’s never-ending. I’m sorry that my grief makes you uncomfortable, but how the hell do you think I feel? After all, this is my grief. Not yours. I can’t keep all of the things I’ve said here bottled up inside. I can’t bury my emotions deep within myself and pretend that they’re not there.

I need to talk about my grief. I need to talk about my mom.

I need to share my sadness and my pain. I need to talk about how much I miss her. About how much I wish I could do the things with her that you do with your mom. Not to make you feel bad or guilty, but to make me feel better. To validate my feelings and to acknowledge how much this sucks. It absolutely freaking sucks. I’m sorry that my grief makes you uncomfortable, but I won’t let that stop me from talking about it. I will continue to share my pain in an attempt to lessen it. I will continue to post about it on my blog and social media to let others know they are not alone.

I’m sorry that my grief makes you uncomfortable, but please don’t give up on me. Please don’t abandon me. You can turn a blind eye to my grief. You can walk away from it. I can’t. I’m living it.

And I need support now more than ever.

Originally published on the author’s blog

You may also like:

What it’s Like to Love a Motherless Daughter

You Cannot Control Seasons of Grief; You Can Only Move Through Them

This is Grief

If you liked this, you'll love our new book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available for pre-order now!

Pre-Order Now

Lauren Dykovitz

Lauren Dykovitz is a writer and author. She lives in New Jersey with her husband and two black labs. Her mom, Jerie, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2010 at age 62. Lauren was only 25 years old at the time. Jerie passed away in April 2020 after a ten-year battle with Alzheimer's. Lauren writes about her experience on her blog, Life, Love, and Alzheimer’s. She has also been a contributing writer for several other Alzheimer’s blogs and websites. Lauren self-published her first book, Learning to Weather the Storm: A Story of Life, Love, and Alzheimer's. She is also a member of AlzAuthors, a group of authors who have written books about Alzheimer’s and dementia. Please visit to read more about Lauren’s journey.

When Mom Died, We Had Tea

In: Grief, Grown Children, Living
Table set as a tea party with framed picture of a woman, color photo

My mom was never, ever without a cup of Lipton’s tea. Like a dear friend, it held her hand, kept her warm, provided comfort. She boiled water in her navy-speckled kettle, then poured it into a cup and, completely ignoring the recommended four-minute steep instructions, immediately lifted it to her lips. It always mystified me how her mouth didn’t suffer third-degree burns. Mom’s penchant for thriftiness compelled her to use the same tea bag multiple times; only when it disintegrated and leaf particles floated to the surface did she accept defeat and reach for a fresh yellow packet. RELATED: Moments...

Keep Reading

My Mother Raised Me To Go On Without Her

In: Grief, Grown Children
Mother and grown daughter smiling in selfie

“The kids are spending the night at Grandma’s, and I’m eyeballs deep in Fritos while catching up on all my trash TV shows.” “I had to rush my son to urgent care, but thankfully my mom was able to stay with the three other kiddos while I took care of him.”  “I feel so lost when it comes to homeschooling; thankfully, my mom did it too, so she’s been an amazing guide to have.” To most people, these sentences might seem like wonderful, blessed bits of praise from a daughter about her mother, but to me, they’re like daggers straight...

Keep Reading

Dear Loss Mom, Grieve Your Baby In Heaven Without Guilt

In: Baby, Grief, Loss

My third baby was due on October 19, 2019. Instead, she was born into heaven on March 24, 2019. Not only do I grieve her more in October than in other months because of her due date, but I also grieve for so many other parents who have also lost their children.  RELATED: A Letter To My Mama From Your Baby In Heaven Pregnancy loss is such a strange journey to walk through. I’m years into it, and there are still days when the grief hits and the tears come and I can’t breathe. On other days, I am so...

Keep Reading

My Sister and I Return To Childhood To Grieve Our Mother

In: Grief
Two women, sitting on swings, color photo

“Grief is itself a medicine,” William Cowper. Everyone processes grief differently. The day after our mother’s death, my sister and I began our grief journey and took up swinging. Not that kind of swinging, Heaven forbid! No. What we chose instead was the weightless, transformational lightness of being that only a tried and true piece of playground equipment can supply.  That morning my sister and I waited rather anxiously for hospice (blessed hospice!) to pick up that wretched hospital bed. We wanted it gone, banished from our sight forever. When the truck carrying the bed and other supplies disappeared down...

Keep Reading

She Was Just a Dog…and So Much More

In: Grief, Living
Young woman in car with dog, same woman years later with dog, color photo

She was just a dog. One of my least favorite sayings is “it’s just a dog” when people comment on how much we love our pets—be it a dog, cat, lizard, chicken, hamster, etc. They’re not wrong . . . Harley was “just” a dog. One random spring morning I asked my mom if I could get a dog of my own. She was working and sick of the phone calls. She said I just had to ask dad. Well, we already had two dogs, so I didn’t have high hopes. Cue dad. He was just about to lie down to take...

Keep Reading

I Wish I Had the Chance to Be Friends with My Mom

In: Grief, Motherhood
Portrait shot of woman, color photo

Dear Mom, I never got the chance to appreciate you as a mother. There was so much life still to do. And not just the big milestones. I’m talking about the parts when daughters grow into mothers themselves and have the chance to appreciate their moms for everything they did for them. The chance to get to know their own mother as a person instead of just a parent. You left this earth soon after I became I mother myself. And now I sit here and think back on memories of you from when I was growing up. And, oh,...

Keep Reading

The Faith and Fear of Trying for a Rainbow Baby

In: Grief, Loss, Motherhood
Pregnant woman sitting on living room floor

When we decided to start a family we dove in head first. After having been together for five years and married for a year, we were ready. It was September when we decided to give it a go. By mid-December, I took a test. My first positive pregnancy test. I had a life growing inside me! I’ll never forget my husband’s smile when I told him. We embraced and cried together. We couldn’t believe it could be this easy. The next few weeks consisted of a wave of pregnancy symptoms and before I knew it, we were going to the...

Keep Reading

Angel Babies are Heaven’s Gatekeepers

In: Faith, Grief, Loss
Mother and baby silhouette

I never seemed to have the right words. I didn’t have the right words at four years old when my parents lost my 11-month-old brother, and I never seemed to have the right words as I watched family members and close friends lose both the new life growing within their wombs and the beautiful, precious life resting in their weary arms. So, I did what I thought would offer the most comfort. I simply tried to show up and be there the best I could. I shopped for their favorite treats. I dropped meals off on front porches and toys...

Keep Reading

I Should Be Picking You up from School Today

In: Grief, Loss, Motherhood
Woman sad with eyes closed

I would have cried.  I see the line of cars in the school pick-up line, and my heart is hit with grief, love, and wistfulness all at the same time.  You, sweet boy, should be there, waiting for me to pick you up.   I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve gone over it in my mind. Your first day of preschool. I’ve thought about your outfit—little jeans and a hoodie with a ball cap. Would you be into superheroes? What backpack would you want? I would’ve taken you school shopping, picking out all the supplies you’d need. And...

Keep Reading

Secondary Infertility Took Me By Surprise

In: Baby, Faith, Grief, Loss, Motherhood
Mother holding toddler by open door

Selfish. Unfair. Guilt stricken. Shameful. Those were just a few of the words that regularly stabbed my lamenting heart as I longed for a second child. Yes, I was grateful for my healthy, beautiful boy who made my dream of motherhood come true, but why did I not feel complete—was he not enough? Was I doing this motherhood thing all wrong and didn’t deserve a second child? Why did I long to give him a sibling so badly knowing millions were aching for their first—how could I be so insensitive? So many questions, so many buts and so many whys....

Keep Reading