My Story: Why I Write
Karen never left the house without her lipstick on.
Soft-spoken and kind, she was generous with her time, generous with her friendship. She went to church and taught Sunday School. She meticulously maintained a lovely home for her adoring husband and two well-dressed children. Every holiday, waifs without family were invited to share their dinner table.
Karen lived a picture-perfect life.
Until she became ill. Plagued by an ugly cousin of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s called Huntington’s Disease, which had already claimed her own mother. She knew what her future would hold. She left her husband, her children, and her friends, and chose to live apart, until she died alone in a convalescent hospital at the age of 57.
Why would my mother, a godly woman, surrounded by people who loved her, turn us all away?
Why would she choose isolation over the support and love of friends, her church, and her family?
Why would anyone choose to bear such a burden alone?
Six years ago, my mother died alone in a convalescent hospital at the age of 57. At the onset of her illness, nine years prior, this loving wife, mother, and friend left everyone, choosing to live apart and alone until her death.
For 15 years I have tried to understand why – why would a godly woman, surrounded by people who loved and cared for her, turn all of us away at a time of greatest need?
I believe the answer is shame.
She was ashamed of her illness. Ashamed of her disability. Ashamed that the perfect, flawless façade she tried so hard to maintain was irreparably shattered.
So, now you know. I write to understand. I write to grieve. I write to remember.
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