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CBD Diaries: Death

For we know that when this earthly tent we live in is taken down-when we die and leave these bodies-we will have a home in heaven, an eternal body made for us by God himself and not by human hands. We grow weary in our present bodies, and we long for the day when we will put on our heavenly bodies like new clothing. For we will not be spirits without bodies, but we will put on new heavenly bodies. Our dying bodies make us groan and sigh, but it's not that we want to die and have no bodies at all. We want to slip into our new bodies so that these dying bodies will be swallowed up by everlasting life.

(2 Corinthians 5:1-4)

NJDM left her earthly body last evening at 9:40pm (PST) to assume her eternal body. She lived many years with Corticalbasil Degeneration. (CBD) It is a rare terminal condition that prohibits the limbs from moving and impacts speech. Over time, she was unable to use her arms, legs, or to speak much. She grew rigid and it was painful for her to be moved or dressed. Mom's mind worked wonderfully and she understood all that was happening, despite her ability to participate in life. She continued to watch only CNN until the last 2 weeks of her life. She was still interested in the events of the world.

Still she found a reason to smile every day. She made friends where she lived and endured the days with courage and grace. It was her smile that engaged others when she couldn't say more than "yes". Although she accomplished so much in life, there was no better accomplishment than to demonstrate to all of us that something positive comes from each day. We all must find a way, as she did, to live with what life hands us.

She was nicknamed "Jitterbug" by her father because she was a bundle of energy and always moving. It is a bit ironic that she should end her life, unable to move. Perhaps God knew what was to come, and gave her more energy as a young child. I know each day was frustrating to depend upon others. She had been an English teacher and writer. It must have been difficult to live each day, unable to describe it or write it. Yet, she embraced what each day brought.

I know she would be pleased if her life continued to inspire others while in this situation. Before CBD, she inspired so many. She was a great listener and advisor to our friends, her nieces and nephews, our children, and thousands of young adults in her high school classes and in organizations like Girl Power. She also inspired her sister in laws, cousins, children, spouses, and anyone who met her. Her caregiver in the final months of her life, Juanita, loved her so much. She dressed mom each day and showered her. And during their time together, Mom trusted Juanita and had faith in her arms. Mom made an impact on so many caregivers and residents at the place she lived. With just her smile and strength they grew to love her as well as we all have. Imagine achieving the love and respect of so many, unable to move or express a thought. Our Mom did.

I know my Mom would want me to help any of you in any way I can. I will no longer care for my Mother, but if I can help any of you please let me know. My Mom's brain was sent today to the brain bank in Florida. We'll await the findings to confirm her diagnosis.

I am forever indebt to all of you in this group who provided information and inspiration to me during the last years of my Mom's life. Her life will not be in vain if our experiences help others. For now I need to focus on her family and some restful time. And then I will continue to participate in the hopes I can help others. Thank you all so much.


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