The Hat Lady

Mom and daughters

My mom recently celebrated her 68th birthday. Mom has Alzheimer’s Disease, and every birthday I get to celebrate with her is precious to me.  Below is a tribute to mom.

The woman sits in a chair watching the children play. They are laughing as they search through an old wooden chest for treasures. Occasionally they look at her and wave.

They are her grandchildren but she does not remember this. She knows they are a part of her life but cannot connect the significance of their relation. To her they are small and beautiful children having a good time. She enjoys watching them.

The tallest girl reaches into the wooden chest and pulls out a white brimmed hat with a wrinkled and dusty bow hanging off the back.

The woman smiles and shakes her head up and down. The hat is familiar to her. It fills her with warmth, love and happiness.

The girl puts it on her head and twirls around for everyone to see.

The woman laughs. The hat reminds her of… Of what?

She sees four girls playing in a long ago place. A time much different from now. They play games on a freshly cut lawn while a man and woman watch from their lawn chairs. Could it be the same hat she wore when she herself was a young girl?

No, there is more to it than that.

She sees a man holding out his hand to a woman. She takes it, and he leads her close to him. They start to dance – a dance that has lasted over forty years. Yes it is the hat she put on that long ago day when she married the love of her life.

No. This much more than the love of a husband and wife.

Mom and granddaughter

Babies. She can smell the scents of baby powder and spilt milk. She sees a young woman carrying a child while three little ones are fast asleep on her bed. Maybe it is the hat she put on the day her first child was born. The one she wore all of those years raising four children.

No. There is still something more.

She sees young man wearing a tuxedo. He waits and watches as a beautifully dressed woman in white walks towards him. Maybe it’s the hat she wore the day she became a mother-in-law.

No she senses there is more.

She sees the worry in a man’s face while he kneels down and prays for his son who has just gone off to war. Maybe it was the hat she wore while praying for her son’s safety.

No. That’s not it.

She smells babies again. This time, she hears them cry. The love she feels is different than it was when she had her own. This is a great love that only a grandparent can have. Yes, that’s it. It’s the hat she put on with the birth of each of her grandchildren.

The tall girl takes the hat off and puts it back in the chest. She reaches in a pulls out another one. This one is a darker color and not as pretty. The children examine it then put it back.

A grown woman in her forties bends down to give the woman a kiss. She helps the woman out of the chair and walks her to the bedroom. Who is this grown woman? Is this her daughter?

Alone in her bed, she hears the grown woman talking to the children still playing and laughing. She also hears her husband walking up the steps to their room.

Then she remembers. For a brief moment she remembers all of the hats she had worn in her lifetime. The ones that gave her love and joy. She was blessed and would do it all over again if she could.

Then she remembers the hat the children did not want to play with. It was different. It was restrictive and did not fit right. This hat, the Alzheimer’s, is slowly taking her memories from her. She can see them fading away.

Yes, this is the hat she must wear now. But she is strong. She knows this. For as long as she is alive, she will continue to make memories. Not for her but for her loved ones.

This week, I’m linking up with these great ladies:
Good Morning Monday | Monday Musings | Motivate and Rejuvenate Mondays | Sharing his Beauty Monday | Intentional Tuesday | RahRah Linkup | Tell his story | Testimony Tuesday | Wedded Wednesday | Woman to Woman Wednesday | Woman With Intention Wednesday | Faith Barista | Thought Provoking Thursday | Faith filled Friday | Fellowship Friday | Grace and Truth | The weekend brew | Susan B. Meade | Still Saturday

15 thoughts on “The Hat Lady

  1. Jenny,
    This is absolutely beautiful!! What a heart-wrenching and wonderful tribute to your mom. I watched my favorite Aunt, with whom I was very close, journey down a 10 year decline with Alzheimers. It was tragic to see such an engaging, vibrant woman become just a shadow of herself. It was a slow and painful death indeed for her and those who love her. I do remember, very vividly, that though she could not remember my name, she could sing the words of hymns with me and could remember some scripture. How telling that these were the few things her memory could cling to…praying for you as caregiver and for your beautiful mom. Thanks for sharing!! So glad I stopped by.

  2. What a lovely tribute to your mother, Jenny. May God bless her greatly, and may He redeem the loss of memory, somehow making something glorious in your lives, as you go through this difficult journey. Grace to you today, sister.

  3. Such sadness behind those beautiful words — but you are living your way into the wisdom and grace that will come from your choice to be present to your mum during this hard journey. Walking a similar path with you — this summer, my mum had to be moved out of our home and into a nursing facility. So hard. God is gracious and He holds us, but still — so hard.

  4. Thank you for this beautiful, though sad insight into life with Alzheimer’s. Prayers for you all. I especially loved the part about not making memories for herself but for her children and grandchildren, beautifully written.

  5. Jenny, this is beautiful and heart wrenching all at the same time. Praying for you and your family as you live with this reality. Thanks for sharing your tribute to you beloved mother.

  6. Oh Jenny, so many hats. And the current one has me in tears for her, you and your family. Cruel disease.

    May she remember the lovely hats. And you treasure the moments. Hugs. Susan

  7. Jenny, what a sweet tribute to your mom. I know you must have shed a few tears as you wrote this. They say it’s a very real pain, this day today ache of watching your parent slip away. I’m so sorry. And yet, the joy you reflect in your words is tangible as well.
    Thank you for your example to us of love and for sharing this hard thing. I loved reading it.

  8. Gracious, Jenny! What a beautiful tribute to your mother. Alzheimer’s is a heinous disease and when my family went through it with my grandfather, it was so hard to remember anything good about him. I think time has given us another perspective but what a blessing to be able to remember and honor your mom in the middle of her trial. Prayers for you all! xoxo

  9. This memory-stealing hat….Jenny, this has to be one of the cruelest of all diseases. It robs the patient and the family of so many precious moments.
    Beautifully written and I can’t believe it’s my first ever visit here!

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