I've never been a widow before. I've worn many identities however. I was an only child for four years which was a great privilege as my parents and my aunt Lisa and Uncle Willi doted on me, as did my teenaged cousins, Murray, Walter and Saully. After the war, I was fortunate to be a granddaughter to my three grandparents who survived the Holocaust. I became an older sister, twice, an identitiy I only practiced actively until I married young and became a wife and mother of three.
I've always been a student, then a teacher, a PTA president and then a member of a school-based support team and a psychologist. My longest past role was as a daughter to my mother who fortunately for me, lived until I was 62. I am still a long distance sister, aunt, great aunt and cousin.
In between I morphed with the century from being "one of the girls" to becoming an independent woman. I became a divorcee and a single parent and a caring friend. I became a lover and married a man who was the love of my life. My daughter married and I became a mother-in-law, then a grandmother. Fifteen years later I became a long term caregiver to my husband who developed Alzheimer's disease and I became a writer and a public speaker. Two weeks ago I was handed this new role.
Every other role added joy to my life and people to love and to care for; this one took away. Every other role added responsibility and purpose to my life; this one does not. Every other role came with expectations, parameters, goals to work toward. This one looks back.
After a time of looking back, I will look forward again. I will complete the manuscript for the third book aptly titled "I Want to Go Home." It will tell our story and those of others I have met whose loved ones were placed in residential settings. it will help people choose residences by providing more options for loved ones with different presenting problems--and tell funny stories as well. Although our loved ones cannot remember or create new memories, their families can and they shared their stories with me and with my son Steve.
I am so lucky this is not my only role.I will honor it and my husband's memory and I will devote myself to wearing my other hats proudly. Who knows what new identities will be added to this list?