Goodbye letter to a mother with dementia is bitter sweet

I received this letter today and I wondered if I should post it.  It isn’t all flowery and nice, but it is reality.  And there is definitely love in it.  I thought I should post it so that others who are primary care givers for loved ones with dementia will see that it’s OK to feel scared, mad and alone.  Read on:

Dear, dear Mom,

As I sit here looking at you napping in your chair, I realize that you’ve been gone from me for such a long time.  I miss you.  I miss that we used to have napping woman courtesy of eflonsuch stimulating conversations with Dad.  I miss that you used to smile and laugh at my jokes.  I miss you taking care of me.  I miss your intellect, your insight and your bright spirit.

Now, I’m taking care of you.  And it’s hard.  And I’m tired.  Sometimes I want to go to sleep and not wake up.  You are healthy, except your mind is gone.  My friends and sister all tell me to think of myself and place you in a home.  Do you know that I’ve called several, been on the list to get you in and when the phone call comes that says there’s room for you, I just can’t do it.  They’ve stopped calling me because they know I can’t place you.  You’re my mom.

Sometimes I’m so angry with you and Dad for leaving me in this situation.  I guess I don’t know what else you could’ve done, but I’m still resentful.  And I’m scared.  I can’t lift you without help from Hospice workers.  There’s so much I can’t do.  I just try to hold on to any little bit of normalcy.  It’s so wonderful for me to get an hour to go to the grocery store by myself.  I feel free.  And I feel bad that I feel free.

I’m thankful that you know me a little bit still.  That’s a little bit that I can hold on to of the old you.

I love you, Mom.  And I’m saying goodbye now even though you can’t read this letter.  I just want you to know that you are so special to me.  Even like you are today.  Even though it’s hard.

I love you.


If you would like to share your goodbye letter with others, please e-mail it to me at:

Why wait? Write a love letter to your mom for Mother’s Day!

I wrote a letter to my mother a couple of Mother’s Days ago and I wanted to share her reaction after reading it.  Fortunately for me, she left me a voice message and I can listen to her happy response over and over–especially when I’m feeling a little blue, it picks me up to know how easy it was to make her smile.

Here’s what she said:

Hi, Susan, this is your mom!  I got your letter.  I just picked it up from the post office and I just had to call you and tell you thank you!  Thank you!  Thank you!  It absolutely made my heart swell so big.  It’s a beautiful, beautiful letter and I’m going to keep it forever and ever and ever!  Oh…  (laughs) It’s just special.  It’s just special!  So… I just wanted to let you know.  You take care.   I love you, love you, love you!  You can tell I’m thrilled.  And that’s it.  I just wanted to tell you thanks, I loved it.  You take care.  Love you very much, Sweetheart.

The ladies of the family hug Mom!

The ladies of the family hug Mom!


FYI, I followed my own advice in my post on How To Write Your Own Last Goodbye Letter.  I just sat quietly for a time and thought of scenarios in my life where my mother played a key roll.  Before long, I wasn’t staring at a blank page any more–it was filled up with words!

I’m not expecting my mom to depart this world any time soon, but why wait to write a letter?  Share the love for Mother’s Day!  You can tuck it into a greeting card!