Friday, April 4, 2014

EVERLASTING LOVE


EVERLASTING LOVE

I once believed that all mothers and daughters were close. This was not necessarily true for mom and me.  During my teenage years we had moved to a new town. Wanting to feel accepted by the other girls was important to me . As my"new"friends came over to my home, I felt embarrassed  as my mother hung around asking them many questions . My friends though didn't seem to mind, for they kept coming back.

Out of my own insecurities this left me with an uncomfortable feeling towards my mother. I know that we loved one another, just that over time it seemed that our personalities clashed more and more. While living on my own I phoned once a week, just so I wouldn't  hear her complain about not  hearing from me. 

For many years we had our share of ups and downs. When my dad passed away, amazingly enough my mom and I got along fabulously. Then without warning our disagreements re-emerged. Yet immediately after mom became ill, there was a major shift  in how I felt toward her. In a strange way I was given a second chance to love her unconditionally.

During these last months since mom entered the nursing home, I found myself filled with many different emotions. I often questioned the quality of her life. This in turn brought up feelings about my own mortality.

As her disease progresses, I have wondered if she really knows who I am. Sometimes I think yes and at other times I am not so sure. Then the other day mom described to my brother's fiancee that her daughter Lisa lived far away in New York City. Mom at that moment had some clarity.  Alzheimer's disease bewilders me. How can one's whole world disappear, and then reappear only to last for a minute?

Recently I have felt some contentment. I no longer wish that mom would peacefully go to sleep. I recognize that I am blessed, for I know that I can still feel the tenderness of her touch and hear the sweetness of her voice. What I do not know, is how long this will last.

While visiting, I witnessed  mom sharing her kisses with all the nurses. I watched and listened as she told them that she loved them. My family is fortunate that my mother is still filled with love and not frustration and anger like other's who suffer from this disease.

My mom, who I love so deeply, has opened up my heart in many ways.This everlasting love I feel for her is embedded deep into my soul. Today and always she remains my hero.


MY MOM MY HERO is for all the special people in your lives. Over 100 great reviews.

Available on Amazon & Kindle worldwide.

http://www.amazon.com/Mom-Hero-Alzheimers-A-daughters-bittersweet/dp/0615773982/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1389797650&sr=8-1&keywords=lisa+hirsch

Sunday, March 23, 2014

"POETIC" CLOSURE


"POETIC" CLOSURE

Before I left to see my mother a nurse told her that I was on the telephone. My mom then replied, "I do not have a daughter." The next day when I called mom got on the phone and immediately said "I love you." When I answered that I was coming to see her she said "great". I used to want to believe, and maybe it was so, that my mom knew and understood who I was, as she shared her expressions of love for me. That was then, and as her Alzheimer's gets worse, I do not know if she truly understands that I am her daughter.

It had been over a year since my son Logan visited his grandma. He used to accompany me two times a year while mom still lived at home. On one of his last trips mom asked him how many brothers and sisters he had, and as he exited the room she only wanted to know who that handsome "boy" was.  The fact is that Logan is her one and only grandchild, one whom she so adored.

This trip was a little difficult for both of us. For the first 2 days mom was extremely tired which left her agitated and confused. Fortunately, on Day Three mom had a good day and right before we left fell asleep on Logan's shoulder. This was a touching moment that melted all of our hearts.

 After returning the one question my friends wanted to know was if she still knew who I was. "Maybe, for she did say my name two times in three days," I replied. Perhaps mom recognized my voice or the tenderness of my touches. When I asked her who I was, she said "her mother." I felt complimented that she placed me in this special arena, knowing how much she adored her own mother. Could she have meant her daughter, or as other Alzheimer patients do, did she just mix up her words?

She told me she loved me, yet I heard her say this to all the nurses and aides as she threw them kisses. They have displayed a kindness and warmth to her, which I feel is quite genuine. Fortunately mom still runs around most of the day in her Merry Walker inviting everyone she sees to join her on her travels. Ruthie with her smiles and sweet demeanor has been able to capture their hearts .

Whether my mother knows who I am or not this trip seemed to be harder for me. I was left with unanswered questions and thoughts of mom's life as it now exists. She will be ninety years old in August with no other health issues. If she were free from Alzheimer's I would be thrilled. Given what this disease has done to her I wonder if there is any quality left in her life.



MY MOM MY HERO is for all the special people in your lives. Over 100 great reviews.

Available on Amazon & Kindle worldwide.

http://www.amazon.com/Mom-Hero-Alzheimers-A-daughters-bittersweet/dp/0615773982/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1389797650&sr=8-1&keywords=lisa+hirsch



Thursday, March 6, 2014

IS THIS THE LONG GOODBYE ?


IS THIS THE LONG GOODBYE ?


My best friend's mother just passed away after suffering from Alzheimer's for the last several years. As she sat by her mom's bed for the last week watching her fade away, I could not stop to wonder what it will be like for my mom when her time arrives. As I received the news uncontrollable tears began to run down my face. I knew a great deal of the sorrow that I was feeling was connected to my own personal grief.

At the Alzheimer support group that I have been attending for almost three years, my leader has been telling me that I was in a grieving process. The first time she said this to me, I responded that I was not, because my mom, was not dying. Now I understand all, too much.

It's funny because just the other day one of mom's nurses reassured me, with delight in her voice, that my mom was doing great. She shared with me how blessed my mom was and that she'll be around for quite a while. After hanging up the phone my emotions, thoughts and feelings ran rampant.

Yes, I understand that I am lucky to still have my mom, yet I also know how much more Alzheimer's can rob from her. Just thinking of how much worse she could become, as this disease progresses, leaves me feeling nauseous and sick to my stomach.

I must confess, that at moments throughout the years, knowing that there is no cure, I have wished that my mom could just close her eyes and go to sleep. I know that if she understood or could see what was happening to her, she would also wish for the same.

Today, I am in mourning for my best friend's mom and maybe also grieving for mine. For now I know that I must express what I am feeling to free myself from these haunting thoughts.

Maybe for my mother and our family this will be a long goodbye. Whatever it is I need to get back into the space of feeling grateful. In less than two weeks I will be going with my son to visit her.  As long as I can see her smile and hear her say she loves me, I will push myself to come from a place of being thankful. Yet for now, I can only feel saddened.


MY MOM MY HERO is for all the special people in your lives. Over 100 great reviews.

Available on Amazon & Kindle worldwide.

http://www.amazon.com/Mom-Hero-Alzheimers-A-daughters-bittersweet/dp/0615773982/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1389797650&sr=8-1&keywords=lisa+hirsch



 

Friday, February 21, 2014

SHE'S ALWAYS MY MOTHER



SHE'S ALWAYS MY MOTHER


As each day passes my mom has her moments of distance and familiarity. It had been several days since I was able to hear her sweet voice. I phone each day and get updates from the nurses on how she is doing. I have learned to accept this, although I deeply miss the kisses that once ended all of our daily calls.

Today is what I would consider a day filled with sunshine. Mom was just walking by the nursing station as I phoned. She picked up the receiver and as I shared my sentiments with her, my eyes filled with moisture. "Mom I really miss you." She answered back in a voice that sounded free of Alzheimer's. "I miss you, too." I was thrilled to tell her that I would be visiting her in exactly four weeks. Her answer was "that's wonderful," as she dropped the phone.

It was a moment of magic for me to cherish. Somethings never change for just hearing her voice warms my heart and soul. Not one day goes by that I take for granted the miracles left of her life.

I recently watched a movie that dealt with a relationship between a mother and daughter. As it came to an end, I felt different emotions beginning to swell in me. It was the realization that I can no longer share with mom any of the meaningful things that transpire in my life.

In this respect, I recognize that this part of her has vanished. The mom who comforted me or delighted in my accomplishments is no longer capable of doing so. This awful disease has stolen this piece of her. A part that I know will never return.

Yet with it all, we still can share a deep love. What perhaps has changed is that in many ways our roles have reversed. Now it is my turn to care for her, as she had once cared for me. The truth is that no matter whatever my mom can or cannot do, I still am her daughter, and she will always be my mother.


MY MOM MY HERO is for all the special people in your lives. Over 100 great reviews.

Available on Amazon & Kindle worldwide.

Friday, February 7, 2014

TRUE BOND OF LOVE


TRUE BOND OF LOVE


I found this on FB today and I just wanted to share it with you. It's amazing how they captured what is so embedded in my heart. My love for my entire family. There was only one person who was not in these pictures, and that is my brother. So I posted him on top of this page.

It's only 1 minute long. Hope you enjoy it. It shows all the love we feel for one's family, which is something that we all do share.

Thanks, Lisa

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=596382897108956

Friday, January 31, 2014

THE SUN KEEPS SHINING

 
 
THE SUN KEEPS SHINING .

As my mother enters the latter stages of her life, whether or not she has Alzheimer's, I try to keep a smile on my face and faith in my heart. Mom will be turning ninety years old in six months. The reports from the medical team at the nursing facility tell us that she is extremely healthy.

Yet it is difficult to know how slowly or quickly her body will break down. In several ways mom is strong and appears to have much "life" left in her. Although her memory hardly exists, she still is able to communicate with everyone and stroll around in her Merry Walker. For a woman with Alzheimer's for over nine years, keeping things in the correct perspective, she is doing great.

The other evening at 8PM the nursing home phoned to tell me that mom had a large black and blue mark on her arm. I asked several questions to the nurse, "can she move her arm, is she complaining of any pain?" The nurse reassured me that everything was fine, just that she had to follow procedures to notify the family.

Thanking her for calling, and as I hung up the phone feeling relieved, and noticed that my husband appeared to be upset. He was holding his head as if in anguish. I could not imagine what was possibly running through his mind, and only wanted to comfort him.

I was surprised by his reaction as he shared that he was fearful that was "the" phone call, telling me that my mom had passed away. At that moment tears fell from my eyes and rolled slowly down my cheeks. I knew deep in my heart that one day I will receive this call.

As I look at my mom's life, as long as she is not suffering, I can only be grateful that she is still alive.Yes I have my moments of wondering what kind of existence does she have. When my mind travels down that path I quickly bring myself back to soak up the rays of sun. I know that we are not able to choose how we die, yet we get to choose how we feel and how we wish to live.

I am committed to be "in the space" of being happy. This is how my mother would want me to be.  I embrace celebrating her life, her love and as of today, I will continue to allow "our" sun to keep shining through .


 
MY MOM MY HERO is for all the special people in your lives. Over 100 great reviews.
Available on Amazon & Kindle worldwide.

 

Friday, January 24, 2014

A MAGICAL MOMENT





A MAGICAL MOMENT

My mom now has had Alzheimer's for over nine years. Her younger brother suffered with this disease before passing away 6 years ago. My grandfather lived to the ripe age of eighty-two and my grandmother died of colon cancer at the age of fifty-six.

Maybe if my grandparents lived longer, especially my grandmother, then they too would have shown signs of dementia. My brother and I wonder what caused this to plague our immediate family. Were there other ancestors who had Alzheimer's ?

We have no answer, yet pray that it skips our generation, and those of our children. By then hopefully there will be a cure or at least some prevention.

Recently, I asked my brother if he could phone me, so I could speak to my mom during his visit. It was late in the afternoon and instead of calling me he sent me a picture of her curled up sleeping in her bed. To be honest seeing her in a hospital bed left me feeling troubled. I also felt sorry that she was unable to enjoy his bi-weekly visit.

A half an hour later my brother phoned and said that mom had woken up, as he placed the phone to her ear. I excitedly asked her is she had some nice dreams. Not only did she answer me sounding perky she responded "yes, I dreamt of how beautiful you are and how much I love you."

This made my day and perhaps my "entire" year. At that second I knew that this was a magical moment. I could hear the presence and clarity in her voice. We continued to converse in ways that have all but vanished for the last few years.

I chose to be brave and presented mom with my favorite question for her. One that I use to ask several times a year. It had intrigued me that although she had no memory she was able to always answer it the same way.

As my brother listened to our conversation, I said, "Mom if you could wish for anything for your children what would it be ?" Mom then said, with a joy from deep within "for my children to be healthy".

I heard my brother utter "what a great answer." At that instant I knew that this was a magical moment. One filled with sunshine as we continue to share not only our love, but our long goodbye.


MY MOM MY HERO is for all the special people in your lives. Over 100 great reviews.
Available on Amazon & Kindle worldwide.

Friday, January 10, 2014

SO VERY PROUD


SO VERY PROUD

Dreaming of mom for me is unusual, yet this week I awoke from a dream about her that touched me deeply. It left me feeling all warm and cuddly inside. We were being interviewed by this lady and mom appeared to be forty years younger. In the dream I felt uncomfortable when mom was surprised that I was her daughter. Despite this, I loved being with her and seeing her so full of life, wanting only to return to my dream. I was unable to.

During the holiday season it had been difficult to speak to mom for at least a week. Inside of me, I had all these feelings of how much I missed her, and yearned to hear her say my name.

Last week one evening my brother called to tell me that mom took a fall from her Merry Walker. He was at the nursing home and said that no one saw what happened, except that mom had a rather large gash on her head, located next to her eye. No stitches were needed yet she refused to allow a bandage to be left on her face. The nursing home had hospice assign an aide to sit with her, for at least twenty four hours, which ended up lasting for two days.

Through the last several years mom has taken falls and has happily never fractured anything. I have heard how easily ones breaks something, especially after they have Alzheimer's. It is also quite difficult to fully recover after such an incident.

Fortunately, the only thing that transpired was mom became more confused for a few days . She quickly bounced back to herself  and marched on as she strolled the halls of the nursing home, in her Merry Walker. Like Martha Thatcher who was known as the "Iron Lady". Ruth Elian, my mom has become the "Bionic Woman".

At the age of eighty nine except for having Alzheimer's and macular degeneration she takes no medication and is as healthy as anyone could ever wish for.

Things have returned  back to "normal" and we are able to share with each other how much we love one another .This lady somehow never stops to amaze me. I'm not sure where her inner strengths come from, yet for the last nine years she has become my hero and I am so proud that she is my mother.



My Mom My Hero book is for all the special people in our lives.

Available on Amazon & Kindle worldwide.
http://www.amazon.com/Mom-Hero-Alzheimers-A-daughters-bittersweet/dp/0615773982/ref=tmm_pap_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1381851317&sr=1-1

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Friday, January 3, 2014

LUCKY, LUCKY ME



LUCKY, LUCKY ME


I'm back home approximately three weeks now, since spending seven glorious days with my mom. I like using the word glorious, for when I look at all the wonderful pictures I have from my visit I see such joy on her face. These memories are still in my conscious and light up my life.

I remember guests in the hotel asking if I was on a vacation and how long I was staying. My answer was always the same. I would be there for eight days and the reason for my trip was to spend each day seeing my mother, who was in a nursing home. I would mention that she had Alzheimer's. Politely the answers were always the same. "I'm so sorry." I took notice of my response, which was as genuine as the smile on my face and I answered," I feel so fortunate to still have her."

If I let my mind travel down certain paths, I would feel some sadness. For myself and mom, I know that I need to remain is the "space" of feeling blessed.

 Since then each day that I phone the nursing facility, even if I cannot reach mom, I have a connection with all the nurses. This makes me feel secure that my mom is being well cared for. The nurses know that she is loved by her family and not forgotten.

 Even if my visits are not daily, my phone calls can be. I've been calling my mom everyday for the last nine years and this means the world to me, something that I will not stop.

I have been able to speak to her at least three times a week since I am back home. With each phone call mom wants to know when I am coming to visit her. Although, she does not remember that I was with her, it somehow connects to her brain that I was just present in her life.

I have been so fortunate to hear her say," I know you love me and you know how much I love you." Somehow my visits bring me back into her "universe". Enjoying it now with no false pretenses that this will last is more than I can ask for.

Being a long distance caregiver is not always easy. I may not like it, although I have accepted it.  Life is not always how we might choose, yet there is one thing that means the world to me; I know how much I adore her and how deep her love is for me. So today, I call myself lucky, lucky me.

My Mom My Hero book is for all the special people in our lives.

Available on Amazon & Kindle worldwide.
http://www.amazon.com/Mom-Hero-Alzheimers-A-daughters-bittersweet/dp/0615773982/ref=tmm_pap_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1381851317&sr=1-1

Sunday, December 15, 2013

THE MOM I SO ADORE


THE MOM I SO ADORE

 Less than a week ago I returned from spending seven special days with my mom. When friends  asked me how she was doing, I answered, "wonderful, given that she has Alzheimer's for the last nine years." The distance between us is difficult, yet I know that the nursing home that my mom is living in takes good care of her.

As I returned to frigid weather in New York, I thought of how unfair it would have been to bring her North. Mom has been living in warm weather for the last twenty seven years and her body temperature is use to that climate.

My husband joined me on this trip, and mom was unable to recognize him, nor remember who he was, yet magically fell in love with him. She wanted to know if he was her husband, and could not understand that he was her son-in-law for the last 33 years. Perhaps she imagined herself jumping on a white horse with him and taking off into the sunset.

Each day we took her out to sit in the garden to enjoy the warm breeze and the sounds of birds chirping. She walked around in her Merry Walker as my husband pointed out the different color flowers. It was like watching a child discover the beautiful things of nature for the very first time. I embraced her enthusiasm, her smiles and her laughter. Mom was in seventh heaven as she gleamed with delight.

At her age of eighty nine, mom is still feisty and has a good sense of humor. She enjoyed singing and spelling and on most occasion's knew I was her daughter .Once in a while she said I was her mother. Her mother, her daughter it did not matter, because I felt all the love that we had for each other.

I know that you cannot fight the progression of Alzheimer's yet mom seems to be "holding on". If I think of  her surroundings, the bedroom she shares with her roommate who no longer speaks and the others who have disappeared from this horrific disease, I could cry my eyes out.  Not knowing when and if mom will be like this, I now choose to cherish the time that we still have together.

Today, although mom is different than she was, I hold deep to my heart how very much I adore her.  Sometimes in life we need to be thankful for what we have, for one day that, too, shall be gone.



MY MOM MY HERO BOOK for the special people in our lives. Available on Amazon & Kindle worldwide.

http://www.amazon.com/Mom-Hero-Alzheimers--daughters-bittersweet/dp/0615773982/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1387133435&sr=1-1&keywords=lisa+hirsch

 

Friday, November 22, 2013

REFLECTIONS

REFLECTIONS

Approaching the holiday season I felt it was important to look back on this past
year. Thanksgiving was always my favorite holiday, a special time to be with my family. This holiday represents an opportunity to reflect back on the year, and to embrace being grateful for what life has given me.

Was this year perfect, not filled with anything that was troublesome to me ? Absolutely not, yet as I look around at some of the other tragedies that exist in the world, I know that my life is one that has been blessed.

At moments there is a place in my heart that feels some sadness, yet I remain grateful that my mom is still able to smile, and say my name. I'm thankful that her Alzheimer's has not advanced into the state of non existence. Hearing her words that she loves me deeply warms my heart. Yes, I miss my mom as she once was, but I can also appreciate what we still can share.

In August of this year mom entered a nursing home. A place I promised myself never to send her to. If I focus on this, I might feel broken hearted. Instead I choose to celebrate, that she is still able to be here, in whatever way she can. Excepting what is left of her life is the most that I can ask for.

I think about all that I have to be thankful for, I think of my mom, my family and my dear friends. I am grateful for my "new friends" that I have met through Facebook. We are a community that share in so many ways, as we are supportive, caring and understanding to each other.

I would like to wish everyone a happy holiday and hope that you too, will be able to reflect back on some tender moments, that you were able to share with your loved ones.


My Mom My Hero Book is for the special people we love in our lives. Available on Amazon & Kindles worldwide.

  

Friday, November 15, 2013

A BOND NEVER TO BE BROKEN


A BOND NEVER TO BE BROKEN

It feels like ages since I was with my mom, yet it was only two months ago. At moments I am able to reflect back on my visit, and feel the warmth of her smile. Now that my next trip is approaching in three weeks, I am starting to feel excited . I yearn to see her , my heart hungers to spend time with her.

Observing her in these new surroundings does upset me, although I know that this is the best place for her. The above picture was mom and I sitting together exchanging touches and smiles. I was in deep thought of what once was, and maybe mom was reminiscing. When expressing myself to her she was able to follow along. My words and thoughts had to be short and not too complicated. Story telling is gone, for in her world, she is not able to concentrate.

While phoning the nursing home each day when I get lucky I am able to speak to her for a few seconds. Usually my calls end briefly as mom just drops the phone. One day she told me that she had to get off the phone because she was very busy. "Okay mom",smiling about her response. Mom was too busy to chat with me, as she hurried off the phone, to either do nothing or to wander the halls of the nursing facility.

Sharing this with my husband, he explained that she is probably distracted when they bring her to the phone. I know in reality that she would rather be speaking to me then roaming the hallways. Alzheimer's has removed any sort of reasoning from her. The world she lives in makes no sense, certainly not to me.

As she walks the corridors what is she looking for? Or maybe better, why is she wandering all over ? What  possibly can she be thinking ? Is she bored, or perhaps looking for a passageway to plan her escape? Maybe she is just strolling down "memory lane".

Today, I look forward and count the days until I see her, wanting to embrace her , hold her hand and share all my love for her.  When people ask me if she still knows me, I am able to smile and answer "of course she does, she is my mother and I am her daughter." For this I am so grateful..

 We share a love so strong and a bond that can never be broken. As always, I cherish these days taking nothing for granted, knowing that one day they will come to an end.



My Mom My Hero book is for all the special people in our lives.

Available on Amazon & Kindle worldwide.
http://www.amazon.com/Mom-Hero-Alzheimers-A-daughters-bittersweet/dp/0615773982/ref=tmm_pap_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1381851317&sr=1-1