An Elephant Never Forgets: OOTD + NEW Tattoo
A few months back, I'd share stories about my mom's illness. Writing about it on Instagram helped me cope. Also, I wanted to bring awareness to Alzheimer's disease since I didn't know much or care since it didn't affect my life. If you've heard the term before, then you most likely associate it with one simply losing their memory. That's not even part of it.
- Dementia specifically is the loss of memory, language, problem-solving, and other everyday skills (alz.org).
- Alzheimer’s disease effects the ability to carry out basic bodily functions such as walking and swallowing. People in stages 6-7 of the disease are bed-bound and require around-the-clock care. Alzheimer’s disease is ultimately fatal" (alz.org).
Out of respect for her, I don't think I'm ready to share about my Mom's daily struggle with the disease because it's THAT BAD.
What I will share is that disease has (and will continue to) take every piece of my mother with it. This disease has caused my family and I to arguing 100x more than usual, sleepless nights, emotionally distancing ourselves from mom, and blatantly ripping each other's heads off via text. My dad more so than anyone, continues to face this disease daily. However, we are still struggling understanding the stages of the disease and how to deal.
What's The Meaning Behind the Tattoo?
Growing up, my mom always had elephant figurines scattered around in our kitchen, bathroom, living room, and play area. She always expressed how it was her favorite animal and would often share fun facts about them. "You know, Debby, elephants...they never forget anything, right?" Ironically, that's the one phrase my mom would repeat throughout the years; as she explained how their similar to humans.
Elephants exude strength, power, patience, nurturing, and leadership. Female elephants lead their packs and that is very much like my mother. I'm loving learning more about elephants to find similar characteristics.
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I decided to get flowers around the elephant to symbolize that when she is at peace, she'll continue to bloom. As you're reading this, my mom is not physically dead but mentally almost gone. It's very challenging not to be angry in the midst of this. I went through a time where I cursed God's name. But with the support of my host family and close friends surrounding me I knew that I had to see the purpose in this.
10 Things I Learned From Alzheimer's Disease
- You must value every conversation you have with your loved ones.
- You are NOT invincible, therefore, do not take your life for granted (especially, other people's lives).
- DO NOT WASTE TIME.
- Capture everything while living in the moment.
- Patience equates to unconditional love.
- You are NOT stupid. Appreciate your young, working mind. You are capable of anything.
- Let go of painful memories, always. No matter what.
- When your parents are 70 hug them tighter every time you leave their presence.
- YOU ARE NOT GOD.
- God. You (soul). Family. World. In that order.
Who Is The Tattoo Artist?
Emily Hanzal at Jackson Street Tattoo, previously at Super Genius in Capitol Hill, designed this gorgeous elephant with floral around it. She did my first tattoo, you know the one down my spine? Yep! That's her as well. I highly recommend her because she's extremely talented, chill, and gives free touch ups. Let her know I sent ya!
The Inspiration Behind My Tattoo
VIDEO: Graduating Alone, Moving to the Desert, and God Healing Me
Here's a video sharing about my parent's not being at my graduation, God working through me, a summer internship, and trying to figure life out as a new adult.
Even though my mom may not remember my voice or recognize my face, I know our bond is unbreakable. It's my prayer that she will always remember how much she is loved and valued by our family. That she is overwhelmed with an abundance of love more than paranoia. I pray that she seeks God more and more even though she doesn't understand what's happening to her. Finally, I pray that she remembers that even in the face of death, love always wins.