Yesterday I was at my parents’ house helping my dad out with a few things. I went into the master bedroom to get something, and I saw these shoes sitting on the floor in the corner of the room.

I immediately stopped what I was doing and walked over to pick them up. They were lighter than I expected. I guess because they hold so much weight for me, I thought they would be heavier.

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My first thought upon holding them was, “Aww! Look how small they are.” I pictured my mom’s cute, little feet inside of them.

I turned them over and inspected the soles. I was checking to see how dirty and worn they were. I wondered about all the places my mom had been in them. I thought about her walking in them.

I thought about all the times she wore them just to sit in her wheelchair, no longer able to walk in them.

And then it dawned on me.

Oh, she’s never coming back to get them.

It was like I suddenly realized she would never wear these shoes again. They would never again house her cute, little feet. Not for walking. Not for sitting. Not for any reason ever again.

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It’s kind of crazy how a simple pair of shoes can spark such deep reflection. A pair of shoes she hadn’t walked in for such a long time. A pair of shoes she hadn’t even worn for at least two months before she died.

The truth is that seeing these shoes would have made me sad even when my mom was alive.

I still would have mourned the days she used to walk in them, whether down the street in her neighborhood or just down the hall in her house.

I would have mourned those days, but then I could have gone into the other room to sit with her, somewhat comforted by the fact that she was still there to sit with.

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It’s different now.

I mourn these shoes on a different level now. A more permanent one.

She’s never coming back to get them.

And yet, I don’t think I will ever let them go.

Previously published on the author’s Facebook page

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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 lifeloveandalzheimers.com to read more about Lauren’s journey.

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