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On this Mother’s Day, I celebrate my mother, Josie Allen, for her tenacity and bravery as she continues to fight dementia. No matter the odds, she has not lost her fire. It’s a disease that robs you of your pride, agency, resilience, and power.

I’ve watched her fight this battle since 2019. It has tried to rob her of her dignity and her memories of a life dedicated to sacrifice in making sure her only child reached her full potential.

It is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to bear witness to.

My mother was the dictionary definition of strong and independent. She suffered no fools, she didn’t let slights or disrespect stand, and she was known for the casual shade she would throw on unsuspecting offenders.

And I have to keep myself from mourning the woman she was, and embrace the woman that she’s become.

Don’t get me wrong. She’s still a fighter. She’s still got a smart mouth, and she still doesn’t suffer fools. But she is using every bit of strength and independence to hold on to who she is and the memories of the people she loves. However, it is painful and paralyzing to watch.

I struggled with even posting this. Part of me wants to protect my mother’s legacy and the incredible woman she was (and still is). Part of me wants to honor her bravery and spirit. All of me wants to acknowledge and celebrate my mother’s fight in a real way by being transparent and vulnerable.

I am grateful that she is at a new place that is better equipped to attend to her needs. And that they try to bring some light and joy into our lives in spite of her diagnosis. They hosted a Kentucky Derby/Mother’s Day celebration last weekend and Josie let me make her a pretty hat, and even wore it. So, that’s what I choose to celebrate today.

And I am grateful to my family, especially my Aunt Barbara who shares caregiving responsibilities with me, and my mother’s best friends who continue to love on her, and on me.

So here’s to an imperfect Mother’s Day made perfect by my mother still fighting, still trying to tell me what to do, and still as stubborn and feisty as she always was.

Love you Mom. 🥰