Carol B. Amos started her Alzheimer’s journey when her mother started having memory problems. Carol has immersed herself in Alzheimer’s education by reading and attending conferences, workshops, and support groups. Carol is a CARES Dementia Specialist and is Alzheimer’s Association essentiALZ Plus certified. She was the winner of the 2012 “Your Favorite Memory” essay contest sponsored by the Delaware Valley Alzheimer’s Association. She has a passion to share her knowledge and make the journey for Alzheimer’s caregivers less stressful and more rewarding. She is also working to help eliminate Alzheimer’s disease as an Alzheimer’s Association volunteer, fundraiser, and advocate.
Carol has a B.S. and M.Eng. in chemical engineering from Cornell University. She retired from a thirty-five-year career at The DuPont Company. She is active in her church (youth ministry, women’s ministry, usher board, and construction committee). She has been married to her husband, Alvin, for nineteen years. She enjoys tennis, travel, and gardening at her home in Delaware.
“God will use you to help others to press on, to persevere, to remain faithful.” – Roy Lessin
The Dining Room
By Carol Amos
One of my earliest memories is participating in a fashion show with my mother at the YMCA when I was four or five years old. My mother made us matching poodle style dresses out of a white, blue, and black fabric with a poodle design. We were the hit of the fashion show.
My mother was an expert seamstress but mainly self-taught. She made all of our clothes and also my brother’s Easter suits with matching coats. She transformed our dining room into a sewing room and we spent countless hours together as she taught me to sew at an early age. She taught me the importance of perfection. Even if a mistake was not visible, my mother would say, “I will know that it is there.” So I learned how to remove stitches and took pride in wearing my well-made garment. My mother taught me about fabric, color, fashion, and how to modify a pattern to suit my own taste. I made some of the widest bell-bottom pants in high school. I continue to use my sewing skills today.
I learned to sew in the dining room but more importantly I learned life lessons. Some of the lessons were direct conversations with my mother about God, faith, achievement, honesty, time management, setting goals, and how to be a lady. My mother modeled some of the lessons as I watched her stop sewing to listen or give counsel to a friend on the telephone or to bake a cake for a bereaved friend. Other lessons such as commitment, service to others, and how to treat people, I overhead as she spoke on the telephone to friends. All of these lessons helped transform me as I developed from a girl into a woman.
When my mother began to lose her memory seven years ago, we moved her to an assisted living facility. Her sewing machine was placed in a prominent place in her suite but we soon realized that my mother lost her ability to sew. The sewing machine became just another piece of furniture. Now my mother resides in an Alzheimers facility and the sewing machine resides in my basement, both a reminder of what used to be.
After battling Alzheimers disease for over eight years, my mother still has a keen fashion sense. She sometimes compliments patients in the doctor’s office about their clothes, shoes, or purses. When my mother receives compliments about her outfit, she sometimes responds, “I made this outfit not long ago.” I smile because I know that I recently purchased her clothes and her statement confirms that she truly enjoys the outfit. On one occasion, my mother complimented me by saying, “I like your new suit.” I was shocked because it was a new suit. Glimpses of the mother I used to know are pleasant surprises and give me strength for the remainder of this Alzheimers journey.
Tweet-Summary: I am grateful for the life lessons I learned from my mother. I cherish her words and actions that remind me of our time sewing together in the dining room.
Display by Virginia Pollock, graduate of Moore College of Art and Design that partially recreated "The Dining Room" and displays some of my mother's fashions.