Today, on Mother’s Day, I’m reflecting on the impact of what I like to think of as my mom’s final gifts to me.
The last few years of my mom’s life were difficult for me because she had a weird form of dementia or psychosis that was never fully understood. One day she was normal, and then she wasn’t. I remember so clearly the day I was driving home from work and called her as I usually did. When I asked her about her day, she told me she was having a good time talking to her sisters in Ireland. I was surprised to hear this as I was not aware that she knew how to use Skype. With further questioning, she wasn’t using Skype, she told me their voices were all around the house and they had been singing hymns together and having a good time. I drove right over and realized that she was having auditory hallucinations, so off to the ER we went. This was the start of a heartbreaking journey. As a nurse practitioner and concerned daughter, I looked to the medical world for answers and took her to many doctors and specialists, but sadly no clear answers or effective treatments were revealed. Her decline was progressive, and my heart was slowly breaking as I was losing the loving mom that I knew, my best friend.
I did not realize then that I was grieving the loss of my mom while she lived, but I do now. The pain I felt as she became more confused, suspicious, and paranoid was tough to bear. To escape, I unconsciously started numbing out with food to soothe myself. After visiting her at the memory care facility, I would hit the drive thru on the way home and load up on a chili cheese dog and a soft serve ice cream cone on the drive home. In the moment, that food hit the spot and was soothing, it provided comfort. In the long run, regaining all the weight I had worked hard to lose was defeating. By the time mom died, my weight was at an all-time high. I was out of control, and I knew something had to change. I wanted a different future. I wanted to be around to raise my then 9-year-old son.
A few months after her death, I inherited some money from her estate and decided to use it to focus on self-care. I’m certain she would have approved. In fact, I’m sure she prayed that I would finally wake up and take care of my health and achieve my ideal, healthy weight. The first thing I purchased was a treadmill; next I decided to have a hot tub installed in the yard to manage stress; finally, I invested in weight loss coaching and was able to release 80 pounds. I often think that she would be very pleased that I used her money to prioritize my wellbeing. The investments I made helped create the future that I always imagined. One in which I am energetic, vibrant, feel good in my skin, and have the health and confidence to do anything that I put my mind to. I truly credit my mom for helping me regain my health. I felt her with me on my weight loss journey and I feel her with me as I write this now. She may be physically gone, but I carry her love in my heart. I know I have a special angel in Heaven watching over me and cheering me on.
I wish everyone a very happy Mother's day.
Mary Welch, NP
P.S. If you would like to release weight and regain your health, I would be happy to guide you. Let's chat.