Gentle exit

Bonnie Caldwell
June 6, 1937 – Oct. 27, 2015

bonnie in maine

“It’s the end of an era,” my brother said over the weekend.

“She never wanted to leave a party,” my sister said.

“We should not be surprised she’s doing it her way,” the activities director said.

“She’s my favorite dancer,” an activities staffer said with a big smile.

“She’s holding on for something,” a restorative aide said.

“You’re on this journey, and you’re the only one who can finish it,” a hospice nurse said.

“It was our privilege to take care of her,” nurse Bobbi said, with tears in her eyes.

“Today makes sense: One last Tuesday night gathering at dinnertime for the three of us,” Patrick said.

“I love you, and I know you loved me.” The first of my many goodbyes.

13 comments so far

  1. Becky Honeywell on

    I’m crying. What a lovely photograph – and sweet tribute. Sending love and peace.

  2. 2011days on

    I hope that she is with those gone before her – those she lost & those she missed in her heart. For you children, especially you, I hope that you realize how you saw that she got the care she needed with perfection and dedication. As hard as it often was, you saw that she had the best. God bless you all tonight, and the nights ahead.

  3. Jennifer Knowles on

    Emily I am so sorry for your loss. It’s not ever easy even through it was a long time coming. What a gorgeous photo of your mom!

    Take care,

  4. Cameron Smith on

    Em, sending you all my love right now. Being an observer, even from a great distance, of your relationship with your mom all these many years has consistently exemplified the simple and perfect love between parent and child, somehow made even more evident as those roles reversed. I am so sorry for your loss, but so happy you had what you had together for so long.

  5. Lily Steenblik Hwang on

    Emily, thinking of you and sending love. I wish i could be there to hug you and make you tea.

    I hope you find comfort in the living memory of Bonnie that is shared between you and your loved ones.

    Thank you for sharing your journey. It’s helped me many times on my own path with my grandparents. My grandmother passed away a little more than a year ago, her last days were a lot like Bonnie’s. I’m grateful to have had your perspective throughout.

  6. Todd Troutman on

    Hugs, tears, and much love to you

  7. Linda Lease on


    A silent reader, you have been on my heart these past several days.

    I recently began this same journey with my mother, putting her in a memory care facility this past May. It was at that time I found your blog. In the few short months I have been reading your posts it has helped me immensely. I hope you will continue to post.

    You teach us all how to handle this disease with grace and humility.

  8. Karissa Rutkowski on

    Emily, I hope you can find comfort in all your wonderful memories of your mom and from your family. Thinking of you all and keeping you in my prayers.

  9. melinda on

    So sorry for your loss.

    I have been reading your blog for years. I lost my mom to Alzheimer’s in 2009 and dad was diagnosed with it in 2009. Each of our journeys are different with this disease but we all understand the pain of a caregiver.

    Hugs to you and your family.

  10. Barb Vogel on

    You have been a good caregiver to your mother. She was a wonderful woman who taught you well.

  11. joolzmac on

    Thank you again, for sharing your journey down the road with Alzheimer’s and your dear mum. My sincere sympathy to you and your family on your mum’s passing. xxx

  12. Diane Gabel on

    Emily – so sorry for your loss. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

  13. Janet Ciccone on

    Emily, I respect the dedication you have had in caring for you mom. It’s very hard work to say goodbye to a loved one. I lost my mom to dementia. I understand some of what you are going through. Bless you and your entire family. My prayers are with you.

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