It's never easy to lose your mom, regardless of whether she is 45 or 105.
I lost mine July 8, and the whole impact has not yet really set in, but before too much time passes there are just a couple things I wanted to say.
First, I want to thank readers who have expressed their condolences. It never ceases to amaze me about how kind people can be at a tragic time.
Also, of course, friends, co-workers and relatives and the staff at Burns-Kish Funeral Home in Munster.
Mom was 85 when she died, and had struggled for years with Alzheimer's disease, which robs the mind and eventually the body of the ability to function.
Leona Bachan of the Alzheimer's and Dementia Services of Northern Indiana reminded me there are valuable resources like hers out there. They serve 11 counties, including Lake, Porter and LaPorte.
She said people with dementia, of which Alzheimer's is one spoke in the wheel, makes people who are 85 act like they are 65 or younger.
"They don't recognize their home. They want to go back to the Harbor or wherever they grew up and see their mother, who has probably been dead for 40 years," Bachan said.
"That's why they don't have mirrors in nursing homes that specialize in dementia. The clients look in the mirror and wonder, who's that old lady?"
For more information about forming a team or becoming a volunteer, call Bachan at (219) 789-2470 or Kathryn Hartley toll-free at (888) 303-0180.
Visit their website at www.alz-nic.org for more details.
I'd also like to say a big thanks to Pastor Bob Klonowski of Faith Lutheran Church (ELCA) in Homewood, which I attend.
One call to him, and he was on his way to the hospital in an hour when it became clear mom was not going to pull through.
I was unfortunately unable to get hold of either of her pastors, but Pastor Klonowski was there by her side when she passed.
He commented last week in our weekly e-mail newsletter, Faith Mail, on the contrast between the baptism that Sunday morning and mom's passing Sunday afternoon.
"I stopped at the church building and picked up my service book and the oil stock, the very same one used in the morning's baptism, because anointing is part of the rite for commendation of the dying, too," he wrote. "Gathered around Marie's hospital bed we prayed and sang softly, and then each of us dipped a finger into the oil and carefully traced the baptismal cross that had been fixed onto her head, so many years ago.
"Marie, mom, child of God, go forth in the name of God the Father Almighty who created you; in the name of Jesus Christ who redeemed you; in the name of the Holy Spirit who was poured out upon you. May you rest in peace and dwell forever in the paradise of God.
"I sat in the room quietly then as Marie breathed out the last few minutes of her life. Through my mind kept coming the words of the old hymn: 'Abide with me, fast falls the eventide ... In life, in death, O Lord, abide with me.'
"In life, in death. Soren Lucas Van Cleve, baptized, and Marie. Anointed, again. Anointed, as ever."
The opinions are solely those of the writer. He can be reached at mark.kiesling @nwi.com or (219) 933-4170.