"...these loaves that I will share with you, were baked with love, and what I know so far. I'm a firm believer that we are what we eat, and I pray the bread I share here with you, will nourish and encourage you".

Thursday, April 30, 2009


My mom was like grand old house. A mansion with many, many rooms. But my favorite room in my mother’s house was the one which held her heart. I remember when I was young, roaming from room to room, and there was always something there for me. I was given many things in these rooms, and even though each one held something different, they all had something in common.

There was the one which held her faith. She was sure of herself and her place in the world and she shared this gift freely. One held her dreams and because she had them, she encouraged mine. Still another held her patience, which she was to a fault. And of course there was the guidance room, oh and the temperance room, I kinda exhausted the boundaries of those rooms. One held her wisdom, one held her kindness, one held her strength, and once when I was little, I even found my self in the one which held her pain. Oooh, now that one scared me. So I didn’t go back, well at least not for a long, long time. But now thinking back on that room, the thing I find amazing is that the pain never seeped out. It didn’t spill out into the other parts of the house. So you only saw it if you slipped into the room. Humm…But the thing that they all had in common was my mother’s heart.

The house still stands and it’s a beautiful old house. But most of these rooms are closed to me now. I try and remind myself, to be thankful that I know the way home and still have a key, well at least to the front door anyway. I go by often, to check in, help out, trying to maintain the old house you know. And so far she still greets me when I come. For which I thank God.
But before long she's off, she’s slipped into some room or another as there seem to be new rooms in the house now, rooms to which I’m not privy. She seems happy enough though, which is, I guess a good thing. For I’m not as good at hiding my pain as she was.
I stay as long as I can, hoping to gain entrance into now darkened rooms. Just to sit and be and remember. Just the other day I saw her in the kindness room and we sang together, her favorite spirituals. She remembered more words than I did. She looked at me and said “Thank you for what you do for me”. She reached out to touch my hand, and I saw the hands that first stroked my face, the hands that bathed me, the hands that combed my hair. The very hands that held me up, long after I’d learned to walk on my own. Surely I could do these things for her, though I never wanted to be a house, I will shield her.

Cause you see, that’s what I learned in my mothers house. I saw her do for us, everything, often in spite of herself. I learned faith and hope, patience and guidance, wisdom and temperance, kindness and strength and on top of all of that I got my mother’s heart.
And so for every door that closes in my mother’s house, it seems a room is opened in me. I try and create new places for us to meet, as well as rooms that will give to me and to others what my mother gave. Cause when you’ve been loved like that, well, you just got to keep it going. You’ve just got to love somebody.

All in all I am thankful though, because in spite all of the deterioration of that beautiful old house, so far every time I visit I am still greeted by my mother’s heart. And when, and if that changes, I will thank God that I can still remember.

This is not a “This is what I know so far” loaf of bread. Though there are some things I am sure of, I’m sure I’ve much more to learn. You see, twelve years ago my mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. This, as you can imagine, was as painful as it was frightening. This loaf of bread was written to share not just the love and regard that I have for my mother, but also to remind you that no matter what you are faced with, there is always something in it for you. That is of course, if you will allow yourself to continue to roam from room to room with your heart open.

This has been a journey not just or my mother, but for all of us who love her, every life that she has touched. And you know what they say about going places “ It’s not about the destination, but it’s about the journey”. So, you might wonder where am I going? Alzheimer’s is not the traveling companion that I would have chosen. But as I said, if you keep your heart open even Alzheimer’s has within it, blessings. For it has taught me volumes and it has given me an opportunity to share the journey for I have recently been named Spokesperson for the Wisconsin Alzheimer's Institute, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine, and the Public Health Center for Urban Population Health. A position designed to encourage education and conversation about Alzheimer’s as well as offer support caregivers.

So on this Mother’s Day I share with you “My Mother’s Heart” and not just what I’ve written, but also the promise that if you look for the heart in any situation, you will find it.

1 comment:

The ALL NEW Cassandra!

The ALL NEW Cassandra!
It's finally here- The ALL NEW click ENTER to visit!


Cassandra takes center stage at The Marcus Center For The Performing Arts to sing the National Anthem, at the 2010 Birthday Celebration for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.