My mother was a jetsetter. It was the 60’s and she held a management position with a major airline which regularly took her to Europe, and if that in itself wasn’t a feat, she was raising three children on her own at the same time. Admirably, no matter how much stress she was under, she always looked glamourous. She never left the house without looking like she could walk down a runway – the fashion show kind, that is.
She had a work ethic like no one I’ve ever met. In fact, she worked full-time until age 75 when she suffered a stroke. In her personal life, family meant everything; she worked hard to be a devoted mother, and an amazing sister to 12. People counted on her, and she never let them down.
As strong and resilient as she was, in her later years four strokes left her with mobility issues, and without the use of her left arm. Around this time, she also started to show signs of Alzheimer’s. That is when she moved into a retirement setting.
With Mom’s arm permanently bent and very sore to move or touch, dressing was a real challenge. This was further complicated with Alzheimer’s because she was scared and couldn’t understand what the caregivers were trying to do when they rolled her from side to side. I had to pay an additional fee to cover the extra time and the additional staff member required to help get Mom dressed.
As hard as I tried to find clothes for my mother that would have kept up her signature style, there appeared to be nothing on the market. I resorted to buying what was available, although they were, to put it plainly, ugly. I bought clothes much larger than Mom needed so that dressing would be a little more comfortable for her, but even these pieces were too much trouble.
Something that had given my mother so much pleasure in her prime – dressing – became a source of great discomfort. It was painful for her, and painful for me to witness. She worked harder in her life than anyone I’ve known before or since. She had earned comfort and dignity, but at the time, there were no clothes befitting of this woman who was once a high flier.
Contributed by Linda, Daughter