The Gift from the Past: Memories

Dear Reader:

I remember when mother was at the Presbyterian Village, after her dementia grew worse, my heart was so heavy. It was nothing to do with the “Village” per se, it was simply that mother was a very private person and didn’t wish to spend her last days in a nursing home…especially confused and disoriented.

I was a single parent at the time with three children, teaching full time and I knew I didn’t have the financial resources to accommodate mother’s needs at home. Mother made it easy for us  by talking to me one day and saying that it was time for her to go…she needed more care than I or any family member could give. She woke up some mornings and didn’t know where she was. She wanted to go on and start the process of admittance.

I think I shed more tears over this decision than any other in my life…it was something that I had to turn over to God and I knew mother had done the same thing.

As it turned out…it really was a God-send since mother had a serious stroke just a few months after admittance. We would not have even had the option of going if we had waited much longer.

In the little story below another woman is making the same decision as mother…but for her she is taking her priceless memories with her. The saddest part of mother’s condition was that she didn’t even have her memories to befriend her. (*Her occupational therapist suggested I make a memory book for mom…fantastic idea…I can’t recount how many times we opened the book and went through all the photos of her as a child, her parents, husband, we children, grandchildren, etc.)

(Back of Power Card)

For mother…every day was a new day since she couldn’t remember the one before. She did live in the moment but dementia is a memory thief and a “who am I” thief that steals loved ones away from us even while still living.

But…then we did have some special times together, simply as friends, when we fed the ducks at the little pond outside and shared sunsets together…..for those glorious moments time did stop.


(God’s Little Acre) Author Unknown

 The 92 year-old petite, well-poised and proud lady, who is fully dressed each morning by eight o’clock, with her hair fashionably coifed and makeup perfectly applied, even though she is legally blind, moved to a nursing home today. 

Her husband of 70 years passed away, making the move necessary. After many hours of waiting patiently in the lobby of the nursing home, she smiled sweetly when told her room was ready. As she maneuvered her walker to the elevator, I provided a visual description of her tiny room, including the eyelet sheets that had been hung on her window. “I love it,” she stated with the enthusiasm of an 8-year-old having just been presented with a new puppy.

“Mrs. Jones, you haven’t seen the room . . . just wait.”

“That doesn’t have anything to do with it,” she replied. “Happiness is something you decide on ahead of time. Whether I like my room or not doesn’t depend on how the furniture is arranged. It’s how I arrange my mind. I already decided to love it. It’s a decision I make every morning when I wake up. I have a choice. I can spend the day in bed recounting the difficulty I have with the parts of my body that no longer work, or get out of bed and be thankful for the ones that do.

Each day is a gift, and as long as my eyes open, I’ll focus on the new day and all the happy memories I have stored away just for this time in my life. Old age is like a bank account. You withdraw from what you’ve put in. So, my advice to you would be to deposit a lot of happiness in the bank account of memories. And thank you for your part in filling my memory bank. I am still depositing.”


So until tomorrow…“Don’t let yesterday use up too much of today.” – Cherokee Indian Proverb

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

*On the same magnolia tree (from yesterday’s blog post) these beautiful buds were popping off the cones…what a beautiful way to decorate for Christmas!

 Update: Dynamic donors! Thank you so much for your donations! A special shout out to Lisa, Michele, and Libby! You have kept Legally Pink in the special recognition top five status- the competition is so close.
Today is the last day for donations to count towards winning one of the coveted top five teams status. We will hear Friday if we won one of these positions.

So if you or anyone else are planning on donating this year we would appreciate the extra boost today! We are so close!💪🙏😍

We love you! Team Legally Pink!



About Becky Dingle

I was born a Tarheel but ended up a Sandlapper. My grandparents were cotton farmers in Laurens, South Carolina and it was in my grandmother’s house that my love of storytelling began beside an old Franklin stove. When I graduated from Laurens High School, I attended Erskine College (Due West of what?) and would later get my Masters Degree in Education/Social Studies from Charleston Southern. I am presently an adjunct professor/clinical supervisor at CSU and have also taught at the College of Charleston. For 28 years I taught Social Studies through storytelling. My philosophy matched Rudyard Kipling’s quote: “If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.” Today I still spread this message through workshops and presentations throughout the state. The secret of success in teaching social studies is always in the story. I want to keep learning and being surprised by life…it is the greatest teacher. Like Kermit said, “When you’re green you grow, when you’re ripe you rot.”
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2 Responses to The Gift from the Past: Memories

  1. bcparkison says:

    Oh Becky…At least you had an option to care for your mother in a place that could help you. Some of us aren’t so fortunate. My 94 yr. old parents are still at home (down the hill from me) but it is getting harder. Some days I just fill drained.


  2. Jo Dufford says:

    I, too, understand every word and feeling you expressed today about the pain and tears that go with taking your Mother from her home of 50 years because of that terrible disease. I just love, love, love the article, “Attitude”. It surely gives us something to think about and do. Hope you are having fun with the Ya’s. Was out of town and didn’t realize you were gone, so I left your book on your porch yesterday. I trust it will be okay.


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