As his mother deteriorated, slowly, in the last two years of her life, Ross Schriftman was by her side.
Even though her battle with Alzheimer’s disease took its toll on him and his waistline – causing him to lose nine pounds early on – Schriftman, owner of Horsham-based , said he would not have had it any other way.
“She died in her own bedroom. She told me years ago … that if she ever needed care she didn’t want to go to a nursing home,” Schriftman said, shrugging off his devotion as no big deal. “She cared for me for 57 years. I got the better deal.”
Schriftman, who waged three unsuccessful bids for state representative, used a photo taken with his mother in the latest campaign, in 2004. Unbeknownst to him at the time, that same photo, six years later, would become the cover of his self-published book, “My Million Dollar Mom.”
A Medicare and long-term care insurance agent, Schriftman, who just recently marked the second anniversary of his mother Shirley’s death, is sharing, via the printed word, the relationship the two shared and “how we cared for each other throughout our lives.”
“Anybody that loves their family is going to be touched by the book,” he said. “They’re going to see themselves in this book and they’re going to see their families.”
The first-time author and Maple Glen resident said he got the idea before his mother died, and saw writing it as a way to honor her memory.
Describing his mother as a dedicated individual, Schriftman recalls that even as the disease began to wear on her, his mother remained committed to her community and regularly attended Upper Dublin meetings. During a discussion on finances, Schriftman remembered with a chuckle that his mother spontaneously yelled out the first seven letters of the alphabet.
But, it was his 84-year-old mother’s early life that not only made him proud, but gave him necessary direction later. Schriftman said he watched as his mother cared for her father and elderly aunt, leading by example.
“She taught me how to be a caregiver,” he said, adding that he’s learned a lot from his mother. “Caring about other people is one lesson and doing what you say you’re going to do is another one and the third one would be to be honest with yourself and others.”
Schriftman, a “boomerang” who returned to share his mother’s Maple Glen home with her in 1991, is now hoping his mother’s lessons and love will live on through his words – and some of hers. Mrs. Schriftman penned about 30 percent of the book through letters she had written and opinion pieces published in the local newspaper, he said.
“I want them to be uplifted,” he said of readers. “I want then to feel joy in their own lives and that they can get through difficult times and that love is the most important thing.”
If You Go
Ross Schriftman is hosting two upcoming book signings for his book, “My Million Dollar Mom.” The first is scheduled for at the from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. The other signing is scheduled for Nov. 15 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at in Horsham.