Words of Encouragement #84: I Love You More
I Love You More
by Deanna Lindberg
As an only child, I’ve always had a special connection with my mom. And although our connection is different now, she is still “my person.” For most of my life, she was the one I called first – in the middle of the night from my college dorm, or anytime life got hard. Before she got sick, her love and support provided me with a strength that I needed to move beyond dark times.
While I know she still loves me dearly, slowly losing my confidante has been one of the most challenging parts of navigating our bvFTD journey. There are days when I don’t know how to move forward and can only focus on the present, or “where my feet are.” Through the unique process of simultaneously loving and grieving my mom, the love she gave me has shifted, and now grows from the seeds she planted in my heart over the years before bvFTD took root in her. She may no longer be the person I can turn to in dark times, but she can and does still love me while we walk through them together.
I often feel that our special connection prepared me for all that has transpired during this FTD journey. While the love I feel from my mom is mostly intangible, she also left me with so many physical gifts and reminders of the strength and depth of our relationship. One that I keep on display is a wine glass etched with the words, “Deanna, Love you to the moon and back.” I treasure that memento even more now that bvFTD often prevents her from saying those words.
Recently, AFTD shared one of their weekly “Messages of Hope” to Instagram. It was a quote from Lao Tzu that says: “Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, loving someone deeply gives you courage.” Reading that message felt serendipitous – years ago my mom and dad were on a trip to Hawaii, where she bought us matching mini posters displaying that very quote! Today, one of the framed posters hangs in my bedroom, and the other hangs in her room at the memory care facility where she now resides. We’re still connected, and that “Message of Hope” reminded me so.
Mom gave me years of complete and unconditional love. And while my love for her was always strong, this journey has given me a new understanding of unconditional love. It hasn’t always been pretty. Becoming her caregiver isn’t the path she would have chosen for me. And yet, it was her own example of selflessly walking her mother through her cancer journey that showed me exactly what I needed to do.
Through loving her, I find courage to get through the hard moments and dark days. Courage to face the journey ahead, wherever it takes us. Although sometimes the pain feels crippling, love and courage are what help my dad, myself, and everyone who loves my mom to keep going. Some days FTD prevents my mom from saying the words I love you, and other days she says the words but they sound robotic. What I cherish most of all, are the moments when I say “I love you” and, just like her old self, she answers back: “I love you more.”
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