About Me

My photo
Author, reader, animal lover, artist, nature seeker, and admirer of trees

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Dementia and Alzheimer - Thieves of Life

Dementia and alzheimer's are truly the thieves of life. There's something very hurtful, like a bubble bursting in your heart feeling when your mom no longer knows who you are. But you go on, and you deal the best you can, tuck away that hurt and save it for those moments when you just need a good cry.

A little history: My mom had a stroke May 12th of 2011. She's 88. She was already suffering small signs of forgetfulness but was able to function and as long as her life had a routine, she just did her thing and was happy. She has lived in an apartment in my home for over 27 years now, so she was never really alone. Dad died in 2005. That's when Mom started to have problems walking. Joint pain, etc. so her activities were curtailed. As I look back, I think that was the beginning of the state she's in now. The start and breaking her hip while trying to rehab from the stroke probably was the final blow. 

One of the sayings Mom used to greet visitors with (I say had as she no longer says it) was "Who are you!" It was a joke, sort of a little reminder that maybe someone hadn't visited in a while. We'd sort of joke that one of these days she's going to say it, and mean it! I'm saddened to say it is no longer a joke. Between the stroke and the hip surgery and all the meds they had/have her on...she really no longer knows who I am on any given day. I say any given day because sometimes she looks at me and smiles and I can see in her eye she knows me but those moments are few and far between.

Today was a "Who are you?" sort of day, and she meant it. Maybe next visit, Mom will be there instead.

The mother I knew is no longer the woman I see. I no longer recognize the woman I visit. She's been stolen away.  I think it a cruel irony that the body goes on when the mind refuses to follow. Dementia and alzheimer rob from us all.

This is Mom and Dad on their wedding day, March, 1948 - One of my favorite photos of the two.

And one of the few photos of dad she still recognizes!