Traveling the World Without Leaving Home!

Today marks one week since my Wonder Woman Mom Doris took her last breath. Much of the week I’ve spent reading through the incredible messages people have posted on social media in response to Mom’s death. I have never met most of the people who provided comments and messages and will likely never meet them in person. YET we’ve formed a close bond through the love of my Mom and LEGO bricks.

Mom’s favorite subject in school was geography and she declared as a young girl that she would be traveling outside of her birthplace of Washington, D.C. to see the world. Unfortunately, life happened and there wasn’t time or money to travel as Mom raised my sister and I as a single mom.

When I became a working adult and began traveling Mom traveled vicariously through me and my husband Tim. I always purchased souvenir photo books from everywhere we went so that she’d have both the photos and the history of each place we visited. She read every book and brochure over and over to continue to experience the world from her comfy chair. I had no idea then that Mom would eventually travel the world in her own way.

When she was diagnosed with dementia I began speaking and sharing my Mom and our lives with family and professional caregivers around the country. I shared hundreds of photos of me and Mom that showed not only the progression of the disease, but also the joy that you could take from it too. People marveled over Mom’s facial expressions when we were playing with the LEGO bricks and the joy on the faces of caregiving participants in my LEGO Serious Play sessions. When COVID arrived and it became necessary to reach people virtually, I enhanced my LEGO Serious Play facilitation in 2020 by receiving training as a virtual facilitator of the method from the amazing Sean Blair, Founder of SERIOUSWORK!

Suddenly my social media posts of Mom building with LEGO bricks were being read by lots of other senior living professionals and LEGO Serious Play facilitators around the world. But I had no idea how impactful my posts with Mom had become until she died. So far I received messages from people from 16 countries including Qatar, New Zealand, Australia, Germany, South Africa, Singapore, The Netherlands, England, India, Nigeria, Poland and our neighbor Canada. The comments about us and our work have been incredible! Here are just a few…

“You and your Mom inspired me in countless ways and I began using LEGO bricks with my family too”.

“Your bond with your Mum was extraordinary and I will miss seeing her priceless facial expressions.”

“It has been an honor to watch your caregiving journey together. You both radiate wonderful energy and light.”

“The way you shared her journey and the details of her life and your visits was a remarkable testament to the beautiful bond between you both.”

“Your passion for LEGO Serious Play is outstanding and your work is inspiring for everyone all over the world”

I’m going to save all of the messages that have been posted because they are some of the most uplifting messages I’ve ever received and I know I will need to re-read them on the tough days when I’m missing my Mom. One of the things I’m most proud of is the fact that people around the world were able to see who my Mom was in spite of her dementia. They saw her spirit and her faith and her incredible kindness!

I couldn’t have asked for a better Mom, and even though I wish that she had done the traveling she wanted to do, through her dementia she was able to share her journey and her spirit in a way that would never have been possible if she had simply been a tourist. The photos I took of me and Mom aren’t of landmarks from different cities, but are of us on a real-life journey that have become part of our legacy! From Mom’s armchair, wheelchair and bed we showed the world that even though dementia is a horrible disease we don’t have to let it steal our joy! Rest well my Wonder Woman!! I’m so proud of your fight, your wit and your unwavering faith – and I’ll carry our legacy on from here! Love you forever!

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4 thoughts on “Traveling the World Without Leaving Home!

  1. Dear Loretta,

    I would love to have read all the wonderful tributes to your mom and to you and to your many years of journeying through the unpredictable, fiercely demanding territory of dementia. It is nothing short of remarkable, bordering on miraculous, that your story has become so widespread an inspiration to so many people all over the world. But that you and she together made it known that dementia, like every other human condition, is something that can bring out the very deepest qualities of caring, patience, imagination, and faithfulness in the people it touches is, for those of us who know you, and thus also grew to know her, not at all surprising. Reading your book, following your blog, and enjoying our one all-too-brief in-person visit all convinced me that the story of your mother’s later life with dementia and your presence at her side through all those years was going to be an extraordinary story.

    Now that she is at peace and surrounded by the Love that has held both of you very close all your lives, and you are able to step back and look at your whole life with your beautiful Wonder Woman mother, I can’t wait to have the privilege of spending time with you in a few short weeks. We will do what you need to do for those several days. And I will love helping give you the chance to rest, to talk, to reflect, to write, to simply be however it feels right to be and do in the wake of the end of the long journey you so faithfully and joyfully undertook in the company of your beloved mom.

    I know that you will pause perhaps only briefly in the wonderful work in which you are engaged on behalf of dementia sufferers and their caregivers. I can’t imagine you being still for very long. But if you need it, you will find a respite here when you come in March.

    I’d love to talk sometime in the next days. I’ll be in touch to see if we can find a time that works well for you.

    I have so much love and admiration for you, my dear sister. You have been and will continue in my heart…..

    Peace and tender blessings as you say farewell to your mom’s earthly presence,

    Karen

    • My Sister Karen!!

      I can’t WAIT to come for my visit!! I’m literally counting the days. You’re right, because by then I’ll be just starting to think about the direction of my caregiving and LEGO work and legacy without my Mom!

      I have the majority of comments and will likely bring them with me when I come so you can experience them! I want to do some sort of LEGO building event for Mom’s birthday on Feb 18th and I’ll see in the next day or so if I’m up for trying to do that!

      I’m so glad you’ve been part of this journey for quite a while now, because you too have a good feel for who Mom was even though you didn’t know her before dementia.

      I look so forward to all you and I will explore during our few days together! And whatever that is, I know it will be glorious!!

      Much Love,

      Loretta

  2. My Dear Friend & Sister,
    To God Be The Glory, For The Things You Have Done! You and Your Wonder Woman Mom Doris
    have bless families across the globe. I have always said to you, this is your Ministry, and your Mission. Touching lives across the globe, you and Ms Doris are our ‘SHEROES’
    I’m trying to hold back my tears, as I think about all the lives you and Wonder Woman touched. I read
    where a person said they would miss seeing the expression on mom’s face working her Legos I agree and will hold dear those memories.
    Enjoy your time away.
    Love, Belinda

  3. Trust me my sister I have shed so many tears reading these comments!! Just a real WOW few days for me!!! I’m printing out the messages right now so I can put them in a folder and read them when I miss Mom!!

    Love you!!

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