Six Years Since Dementia Took My Mother

Feeling Lost and Privileged

Each Day, Each Year Feels Different Yet the Same…

The power of my emotions comes in waves. An ucontrolled storm that bubbles up unannounced with no warning signs of the deep waves of emotion that crash through my mind, body, heart and soul. And yet, with each crashing wave that feels it could rip my body apart, I remind myslef of how lucky I was to have a Mother I loved so deeply, Because without that great love, I would not be privledged to feel such great pain and loss. Nor would I have those oh so many wonderful joy filled moments that I got to experience and through memory get to replay as often as I wish.

Today I wanted To Honor Mom On The Anniversay Of Her Passing

Mom may you feel the love that bonds us to this day. May you continue to guide my work and expand Alzheimer’s Speaks to help others cope, break down stigmas and find new ways to support and eventually cure all demetias. Without your dementia, my journey to shift dementia care around the world would have never even started. Thank you for the gracious lessons you taught me.

Below are parts from an article I wrote for my first Mother’s Day without Mom.  It was a very healing moment writing about her. I feel it still stands true and maybe, just maybe it will help others on their own healing journey.  I hope  you enjoy it.

By Lori La Bey – copyright 2014

Lori La Bey of Alzheimer's Speaks & Senior Lifestyle Trends
Lori La Bey founder of Alzheimer’s Speaks

Through my mother’s thirty year journey with dementia she continued to guide and teach me; love me in ways I did not know where possible, especially in times of illness.  It’s now been 72 days since mom slipped into the heavens and joined my father. Although I can rationalize her journey on earth is over and she is now in a much better place, free of pain, fully mobile and mind intact; but I still struggle with the loss of you.

Today I Will Visit Her Grave Site With My Beautiful Daughter Danielle,

Who Loved Her Grandma So Very Much.

dan_and_mom_1 - Copy

Going There Gives Me A Sense Of Peace.


The Cemetery, A Place Where I Can Honor Her,

Leave Roses And Balloons In Honor Of Our Relationship And

The Love We Had For One Another.


Throughout My Life, My Mother Has Been My Logical And Loving Conscious.

Mom Was My Rock.


Mom was the one I could always depend on. She was not only my mother, but my best friend.  As my friend Lisa Hirsch titled her book, “My Mother My Hero”  pretty much sums it up!

Through tough times she was my guide and support.

On special occasions we celebrated together.

Mom Taught Me:

To look for the tiniest of things to be grateful for.

To hold a hand out to those in need.

To love deeply.

To consciously make a difference in my life and others.

To work hard and be responsible.

To understand my impact on others; realizing, appreciating and honoring the world is much larger than myself and that we are all interconnected.

To understand that to be a Mother one does not have to have their own child; but rather to be willing to adopt a child in mind, body, heart and soul.

To make a connection and difference in someone’s life, is to be a Mother.


Mom Showed Me How By The Way She Lived Her Own Life.


Leading by example showing me a variety of ways to be a compassionate person.

How to listen to others, not just hear their words.

To look for nonverbal signs of what others truly want or need, when their words were lost or pride held them back.

To look past the everyday judgments and see the whole person standing before me.


Through Illness Mom Taught Me:

To let go of control. To realize it is a mirage, a trap of guilt and pleasure.

To embrace the simplicity of life.

To smile and spread grace.

To love more deeply than I ever knew was possible.

To laugh hard and authentically to embed the moment into my soul.

To look for and create joy in all moments of life, no matter how difficult they are.


To talk openly and honestly with others acknowledging all emotions without embarrassment.

To understand we are all in this life together and that shame, guilt and denial shut us down. Realizing the only way to get past those crunching emotions is to be open, honest and proud you’ve recognized them and what has triggered them; allowing you to move through them. Past them. Over them.

To not only say, “I’m sorry” when wrong, but to change my behavior to avoid it from happening again.

To feel my fear, think of alternatives to remove it and to be brave enough to take action to reclaim the life I envision.

To follow my instincts even when they seem goofy or senseless.

To trust in a higher power than myself, knowing I’m never alone.


To honor everyone’s beliefs.

To realize prestige, money and objects are just things.  They will not make you a better person; until you realize they can be powerful tools to expand your work for the greater good.

She taught me the importance of being person centered or what I like to call relationship based and what it truly means – which is how and why I created “Your Memory Chip.”  –  Are they Safe?, Are they Happy? Are The Painfree?

Through All These Lessons And More,

I Find I Still Want Her Back In This Physical World Where I Live.

Some days my heart aches so bad I think it will explode; or maybe, just maybe it will stop beating all together.  I logically believe and know in my heart mom is in a much better place. In heaven with my dad probably dancing and laughing with many friends and family who have also passed.

But Today, My Mind Wonders…

How Long Will The Pain Of Her Loss Last?

My heart longs for the warmth of her being.

My body reaches out to touch and embrace her, wanting to feel the calmness she always gave me.

My soul wants to be in her physical presence.  The presence that grounds me and allows me to feel strong and confident; even when weak.

My nostrils want to take in one last breath of her essence.

My mind wants to create more moments of joy with her.

Yes Today I Will Go To The Cemetery,

Where I Know She Is Not.

Mom’s soul is not limited to the small patch of grass next to her headstone.

Mom is in the air I breathe.

She is in the sunlight that warms me and ignites my growth.

She is the rain that falls, filled with nutrients and washing away the toxins.

She is the snow that chills me and brings a brilliant beauty by white washing this canvas called earth.

She is the sunset that screams at me to be amazed by our God and the beauty which surrounds me.

She is the moon that calls me to reflect, regenerate and give gratitude for the life I am blessed to live.

Mom, each and every day I honor you,

As you warmed my heart, taught me soul lessons, loved me unconditionally as I have taken missteps, stumbled and fallen.

To all the times you were there to pick me up and wipe me off.

Who kissed my booboo.

Give me a hug when I felt unworthy.

Who sat silently in my presence when no words were needed to make me feel safe and loved.

To your hand, when you reached out to let me know I am never alone.

To your words of encouragement when I was down.

To your thoughtful and thoughtless

celebration when I would finally got it right!

Mother you will always be so very special to me.

An “Earth Angel” guiding me while in this physical world.

Thank you to all Mother’s, for who you are and what you do for the world at large.

Thank you Mom for all you taught me.

All you gave me.

All you continue to give me from the other side.

Your continued connection through dreams and through our souls has been a beautiful gift to me.

May Each Of You Reading This Appreciate Those You Love Daily. 

heart on sheet music

I thought I would add this short video, one of many, which means the world to me.  It’s of my mom singing in her end stages.

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5 Replies to “Six Years Since Dementia Took My Mother”

  1. Beautiful tribute to your mom.

    I often think about the tragedy of dementia and how we all lose. And yet, I think about how because of dementia, we’ve been thrusted into changing the world for others so they don’t have to suffer. And I think for us (the activists and change makers), that’s the catch 22 of this.

    I haven’t lost my mom (in the flesh, yet), but, I can relate to much of what you said in your tribute.

    For me personally, I didn’t realize the love my mom had for me, until she got sick with dementia. Her bipolar all my life had me believe otherwise.

    Now, I realize my mom was sick then, too. And when she was doing well, she was doing the best she could and loved me. And that no one has ever loved me the way she did.

    I’ll miss that when she’s gone. A love like that can’t ever be replaced. There will definitely be a huge hole in my heart that will never be filled.

    It’s crazy how such a horrible disease gives you new eyes.

    I wish you peace as you walk through this journey of grief.

    1. Beautifully stated. Each love is so much more than we understand. It’s through the growth and pain that highlights the bright light love carries with it and lifts our souls when most needed. Thank you for your comment Lori

  2. Thinking of you! The date seems etched in the brain sometimes – April 12,1999 at 2:20pm I heard my Mom (Muzzy) expel that last huge gasp of air that had been lingering in her lungs. I think of her every year on her Birthday, on April 12, Mother’s Day is hard. Like you, I was fortunate to have the best Mom anyone could ask for! That comforts me!


  3. Thank you for sharing your experiences and love for your mom.

    On Fri, Feb 28, 2020, 8:24 AM Alzheimer’s Speaks Blog wrote:

    > Alzheimer’s Speaks posted: ” Feeling Lost and Privileged Each Day, Each > Year Feels Different Yet the Same… The power of my emotions comes in > waves. An ucontrolled storm that bubbles up unannounced with no warning > signs of the deep waves of emotion that crash through my min” >

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