Monday, December 10, 2018

FREE EBOOK for Holidays Dec10-14th


    FREE for the Holiday Season. I wanted to share with everyone my E Book  MY MOM MY HERO from December 10th-14th. Happy Holidays to all. Please help to share.
               MY MOM MY HERO: Alzheimer's - A Mother and Daughter's Bittersweet Journey .
https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_3_14?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=my+mom+my+hero+book&sprefix=my+mom+my+hero%2Caps%2C147&crid=VWJO41W24S3J
 

Thursday, November 8, 2018

THINGS I NEVER WISH TO FORGET






THINGS I NEVER WISH TO FORGET

I get a warm fussy feeling inside as I look at the many pictures I have of my mother and family. They bring back so many memories of when we were all much younger. I remember each one vividly as if it was just yesterday. I find it difficult not to reflect on how quickly all of our lives go by.

Seeing certain photos brings back the years my mother and I had our ups and downs. Our relationship completely healed fourteen years ago after she became ill. Alzheimer's was the culprit yet because of it our relationship took on a whole new meaning. What transpired was this new undeniable, unconditional love I felt for her.

Sadly today, although mom is still alive, everything is so different. Her spirit has vanished as well as her memory. For a lady who was once whole, she is now withered away to almost little existence. She spends most of her waking hours sleeping and in the hours she is awake her world remains empty. Life, her family and the world no longer have meaning for her.

How I wish to turn back the clock for a few minutes and let my mind wander as I remember all the lovely things we once shared. The joy of my graduation in school, my marriage, the birth of my son, his graduation, his marriage and the list goes on. The trip we all took to DisneyWorld in Orlando after my dad passed away. I remember how mom loved to read and adored to travel.My parents went to Mexico, Israel and then Italy where they celebrated their 50th Anniversary. Mom loved going to museums, antiquing, theater & movies. One of my fondest memories as a child was going with my parents to visit the Statue of Liberty and Franklin D Roosevelts home in Hyde Park, N.Y.

I can still envision her smiles, her laughter and the simple little things that once gave
her pleasure. These were moments that I unfortunately just took for granted. I did not give her space  to be who she really was. Instead I focused on the negative things. I lost time not loving her for who she was. Fortunately, today my heart is only filled with deep love for her.

It's interesting for several years ago a close friend said to me that maybe my mom was always loving and I just did not see it. Now not only do I see it, I also cherish it. For these things; her smile, her warmth, her tears, her words of encouragement, her laughter are all things I pray I never will forget.

I love this little lady so deeply from the bottom of my heart!



"Letter To My Mom" & "My Mom My Hero" are both available on Amazon worldwide. Ebook, Audio, Paperback.
https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=lisa+hirsch

 

Sunday, September 2, 2018

MISSING MOM SO


MISSING MOM SO (written on July 28, 2018)


Today, July 28th, twenty-three years ago my dad passed away which left me feeling somewhat blue. I wanted so badly to speak to my mother, yet I knew that was not possible. Instead I texted my brother, shared my sadness with my husband and opened my computer to write what I was feeling. What really hit home for me was although my mom is alive I still could not share any of my feelings with her. I realized that in many ways I was somehow now an orphan or a parentless child.

What you are about to read I wrote a few weeks ago which strangely enough is so similar to what I just shared regarding my father's passing.

As I stood in front of the mirror in my bathroom removing my eye makeup I had this overwhelming feeling of how much I really missed my mom. Strangely, I felt her presence there with me. As I reminisced in my head about my earlier years I realized how she was always there for me. I might not have always thought that yet, now as I look back, I am certain of all the supportive things she always said to me.

As a teenager I was the toughest critic of myself. My hair was too curly, I complained about my nose being too long and my eyes were not large and round like my fathers. I always thought he had piercing big blues eyes similar to one of my favorite actors, Paul Newman.

With each of my insecurities my mother always tried to help in building up my confidence and self- esteem. She would tell me how pretty I was and how she wished that she was tall and "stunning" like me. My blue eyes, she said, were more exotic as they were almond shaped. She spoke words that I was just not willing to hear.

Tonight, I missed my mother more. I missed her differently. I missed her love and the lessons she tried to instill in me. I missed how she was always there for me. I missed all the years that I wasted wanting someone else's mom to be mine.

Now it is too late for her to understand all the love and respect I feel for her. How I wish that I could now share with her who I am. I want to talk to her and tell her everything that has transpired in my life. Mom knew my husband and her one and only grandchild yet today she does not recall any of us. Sadly, her life has been taken away from her.

I speak as if my mother has gone to sleep and is no longer here. In many ways unfortunately this is true.The moments that I now wish to share with her have ended for Alzheimer's has conquered. It has taken away most of who she was and has invaded her very soul. So as I said before yes, my mom is still alive yet I question, is she?



"Letter To My Mom" & My Mom My Hero are both available on Amazon worldwide. Ebook, Audio, Paperback.
https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=lisa+hirsch

Sunday, August 12, 2018

LETTER TO MY MOM





Letter To My Mom                                                      

Mom, as I sit down to write my letter I wonder how I can possibly start to share all my feelings with you. So much has changed since you developed Alzheimer’s over 14 years ago. As I gather my thoughts I realize that you will not be able to comprehend most of what I say.

As a teenager I loved you, yet somehow I wanted one of my friend’s mothers to be my mother. Then, after you became ill I fell so deeply in love with you. An unconditional love was born and since then you have inspired me each and every day.

I’m not really sure why my sentiments changed so drastically, I just know that I was given a second chance to feel a deep love and appreciation for you. As I reflect back through these years you have inspired me and have become my hero.
Your humor, your smiles, your sweetness through these difficult years have melted my heart.

Before entering the nursing home over five years ago, I spoke to you every single day. We ended each call throwing each other our kisses. I have continued to phone the nursing home only wanting to hear how you are doing. Earlier on you would take my calls and most of the time you say hello, and after a minute you just drop the phone. You did not even realize that I called or recognize the sound of my voice.

Mom, I am also a mother. My son, your only grandchild is 30 years old. You adored him and yet today you no longer remember who he is. There have been times that you think you have seven children and days when you think you have none. As a mother I cannot envision that one day I might also not know that I have a child. 

I find it hard to believe that a disease like this can wipe away your whole world as if it never existed, leaving your mind a blank canvas. Daddy passed away almost twenty four years ago and I do not believe that you have much recollection of him. I’m actually happy that he is no longer alive. I cannot imagine the pain he would have endured watching you fade away.

Today, in your world, I would have to help you brush your teeth, comb your hair, eat your food and get dressed. As a child you once did all of this for me, as well as comforting me when I was sick, or perhaps feeling a little blue.  Yet with everything that has changed, at least I know that we still have each other to share our love.

What has changed is that our roles have reversed. Now it is my turn to care for you as you once cared for me. The truth is mom that no matter whatever you can or cannot do, I am still your daughter and you will always be my mother.

Life is strange; for out of you becoming ill I have discovered a whole new world. I was given a second chance to love you unconditionally.  You have opened my heart to such a deep compassionate love. Mom as I end my letter, I just want to share with you, how very much I adore you. I feel honored and I am so proud that you are my mother.

 Your one and only daughter,

Lisa



"Letter To My Mom" & My Mom My Hero are both available on Amazon worldwide. Ebook, Audio & Paperback.
https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=lisa+hirsch

Friday, July 27, 2018

NEVER WANTING TO LET GO



NEVER WANTING TO LET GO

My mom has Alzheimer's for over fourteen years and as her disease progresses so does my emotions. I often feel I am on a rollercoaster swaying back and forth as it speeds around many curves shaking up my inner feelings.

This year like the past four years, I once again spent an entire month with my her. As a long distance caregiver having the opportunity to see mom more frequently brings out a more positive responses from her.

On most days we found mom with eyes closed and very little expression on her face. The sound of music that once delighted her seemed to have disappeared. One thing that is constant is that when I took her hand, even when she seemed to be sleeping, she held on tightly as if never wanting to let go.

On several occasions with eyes wide open we also found mom speaking nonstop. Although her speech is gibberish and difficult to understand it still lifted our spirits to hear her come alive. Yet amazingly enough mom said a few profound things such as "people should be happy".

I am always grateful that my wonderful husband joins me. He is so loving to mom especially when I feel a loss for words.  Magically he connects with her and finds the right things to say.

The head of nursing called me today and confirmed that mom is in the last stages of the disease, which I have heard for some time now. She reports that mom has not lost any weight and her blood work came back good. I mentioned that mom will be 94 years old in a couple of weeks. I do not know when she will finally say goodbye, yet in my heart, I do not believe that it is in the near future.

I have shared many times before that this horrific disease also fascinates me. Sometimes I question if I am now in denial or just becoming immune and accepting the situation. The once praying for mom to go to sleep has vanished and a new "space" has opened up for me.

I now feel more serene and have a calmness that is freeing. No more torturing myself of what I wish to be. I know that when mom is ready or the disease has "won", that is when I will have to say my final goodbyes. So for now, I cherish and remember how tightly our hands intertwined never wanting to let go.


"Letter To My Mom" & My Mom My Hero are both available on Amazon worldwide. Ebook, Audio & Paperback.
https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=lisa+hirsch

Sunday, July 8, 2018

MOM, IT'S MY BIRTHDAY





 MOM, IT'S MY BIRTHDAY

I will be celebrating my birthday on Thursday July 12th and I, who never made a big deal about this day, now feel differently. I find it sad that the woman who gave birth to me has no memory of this day, or in fact, any other day. Mom for the last fourteen years has been suffering from Alzheimer's.

The sorrowful part is that each year as I get older I loose a little bit more of her. Having a child of my own I cannot imagine that I might one day not remember bringing him into the world; or perhaps that I even had a child.  How could a disease like this invade one's mind and destroy a life that once was? This thought sends shock waves and chills through my entire body.

Alzheimer's is a rotten disease yet mom has been one of the more "fortunate" ones. The disease has not left her agitated and she seems to have opened her heart to more love. It is I, who feels the effects of the disease.

In mom's mind she still remembers me (and my brother) as a young child. Her mind has traveled back in time to thinking she still lives with her parents. A place and time for her that she once felt safe, loved and secure. Everything else has pretty much disappeared, so how could she in her mind now have a daughter all grown up? It's almost as if time has stood still.

Forgetting my birthday is the easy part, it's when I think about how she now lives and all the things she can no longer do, that I get upset. The simple things like getting out of bed each morning, feeding herself, getting dressed, combing her hair or brushing her teeth. These are things she no longer can do, yet I do them each morning maybe taking "life" for granted.

Mom does not realize how different her life has become because she has no memory of what her life once was. For her this is a "blessing", and for me it is being able to "accept" how things now are.

So mom, whether you can remember holding me in your arms as I took my first breath or tying my shoes as the laces came undone; this no longer matters. As long as you are not in pain and seem to be "relatively" content then I guess for now, as I blow out my birthday candles, there is not too much more that I could wish for.

I love you mom and will always be grateful that you are the mom who for many years put candles in my cakes; and as the years went by, you watched me grow up into a young lady, get married and have a child of my own.
I cannot thank my parents enough for bringing me into this world and for all the love that they gave me. I know that if mom could find the words she would surely wish me a Happy Birthday and share with me how very much she loves me. If only she could remember.


"Letter To My Mom" & My Mom My Hero are both available on Amazon worldwide. Ebook, Audio, Paperback.
https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=lisa+hirsch

Sunday, June 24, 2018

CAN ONE LIVE TOO LONG WITH ALZHIEMER'S?


CAN ONE LIVE TOO LONG WITH ALZHIEMER'S?

My mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease at the age of 80. For the first several years of her illness, she was able to live at home with part-time caregivers. Approximately five years ago, her cognitive functioning deteriorated and we moved her into a nursing home. Fourteen years after her diagnosis, my mother is now 93(August turning 94) and except for her macular degeneration, she is on no medication for any life-threatening conditions.

Several weeks ago, two members in my Alzheimer’s group suddenly lost their mothers, even though they joined the group after me. Every time this happens I question, why my mom is still alive after having dementia for so many years?

I know how that sounds. But let me explain. When she was first diagnosed, even though we had had a strained relationship, I fell in love with her unconditionally. I devoted myself to managing her care and our relationship flourished. Any ambivalent feelings that I once had no longer seemed important and magically disappeared. We shared our laughter and acted so silly almost as if we were teenagers. But today, after 14 years with Alzheimer’s, things with mom are quite different.

What kind of life can mom now possibly have? She exists, but does she really? She no longer has any appreciation of any of the beautiful things that once surrounded her world. Memories of her husband and children are all but gone. For many years, she’s had no idea of her age, her life, her family, nor even her existence.

Mom use to love to go to museums, movies and theatre. She enjoyed her morning walks or strolling on the beach. She adored reading, had a great quest for knowledge and loved taking continuing education classes. For many years now, none of these things have been a part of her life.
Now, although she probably does not know the difference, she walks around sterile hallways passing others who are confined to wheelchairs and no longer speak. I have often said that she is the lucky one yet I now question..is she?

If she could speak or see herself through different eyes, would she want to keep on living? I believe deep in my heart that I know her answer. The answer is what I would want for myself. I believe that when someone’s quality of life disappears, decisions need to be made.

Regardless of your beliefs I am certain that we can all agree that Alzheimer’s is one of the cruelest diseases. It takes away one’s entire world as if it never existed. There is no cure and the ending can be gruesome. So, I ask you, should someone with Alzheimer’s have the right to choose to die? In several states with other diseases you do have that choice. One can decline treatment, but with Alzheimer’s there is no treatment and one can live for many years with no awareness nor quality of life.

Most of us choose not to speak about this yet it is something that as human beings should be our right. We should be able to make our own choice of how we live and when we should die. My choice has always been that I would die with dignity, through physician-assisted death if need be, in order to have some agency in the process. That is what I so heartily wish for my mother.
 
 
 


 

 
 


                                


Thursday, June 14, 2018

LONG DISTANCE CAREGIVING (INTERVIEW)


LONG DISTANCE CAREGIVING (INTERVIEW)

I was interview this week by Lori La Bey on Alzheimer's Speak about my relationship with my mother and being a long distance caregiver. I think you might find it to be quite interesting.(1 hour long)

Here is the link:  http://www.blogtalkradio.com/alzheimersspeaks/2018/06/12/long-distance-caregiving--the-struggles--gifts

Sunday, May 27, 2018

THE POWER OF TOUCH



 THE POWER OF TOUCH


I have read that physical touch is one of five ways people communicate and receive emotional love. It is also stated just reaching out and taking someone's hand can be the beginning of a journey. For me holding hands was the most tender moments that my mother and I shared during my month long visit.

As our fingers were intertwined like never before, as we held each other's hands, it felt to me as if I never wanted to let go. It was at that very moment that I became aware of how meaningful human touch was with my mother. Mom's fingers spoke words to me. They told me how much she loved me as I felt her warmth and tenderness like never before.

Every once in a while she'd open her eyes, look at me, squeeze my hand and smile. How I yearned to know what she was thinking, although on this day most of her words remained silent. Suffering for fourteen years, Alzheimer's disease has been removing her use of language.

We held each other's hands for hours as if we were young lovers. Yet this was different it was my mother that I was touching. We needed no words, just holding hands said it all. We both held on so tenderly as if never wanting to let go. Each day thereafter I hungered for my mother's touch, meaning more to me than I could have ever imagined.

I reside in New York while mom lives in Florida. Not only do I miss her deeply I very much miss the caressing of our hands. I miss her touch, her warmth her tenderness which filled my heart with love.

What does the human touch mean to you? Is it feeling the warmth and caring of another human being? Or is it perhaps feeling loved? Is it embracing another person?

Whatever it means to you, for me, it was an intimacy so different than one that I could have ever dreamed I would be able to share with my mother. It is for me a love that has come full circle and now is complete.


"Letter To My Mom" & My Mom My Hero are both available on Amazon worldwide. Ebook, Audio, Paperback.
https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=lisa+hirsch

Friday, April 20, 2018

BEING A LONG DISTANCE CAREGIVER


BEING A LONG DISTANCE CAREGIVER


Quite a few years ago I recall defending myself from some other caregivers. They thought I did not qualify to be mom's caregiver since I lived far away. They thought that I did not care for her in the same way that they did. Their words stung me deeply and had me momentarily question myself.

I certainly felt compassion for their situation, yet I too, had the agony of hearing and seeing my mother disappear in front of my very eyes. One moment she knew my name and the next she had no idea who I was. My heart felt equally broken as theirs and I questioned why would they judge me?

Was I any less of a daughter to my mother because I did not live near her? Unfortunately, I could not just pick up and move to another state, and my mother refused to leave her home. I am my mother's daughter and that will never change, no matter how many miles may separate us.

Before moving mom into the nursing home for years I spoke to her caregivers every single day to hear how she was doing and to help plan her day. I questioned what she ate, if she took her vitamins and if she gave them a hard time when she was being bathed. I also delighted in hearing how mom loved to sing along to the CD'S that I made for.

There were moments when mom sounded great and there were other times when I was so frightened yet unable to just jump in my car and rush over to her. I remember when they called an ambulance to take mom to the emergency room after her aides discovered she had bruises (from a fall) that she could not tell us about. Then there were the times she was hallucinating which was due to a urinary tract infection (UTI).

Once, when she was in the rehab hospital I spoke to the physical therapist who told me that my mother was not following instructions. I responded "how could mom possibly remember what you just said since she has Alzheimer's." The therapist answered, “oh I didn't know she had dementia.”

Then there was the time I received a call from a first response team who was not able to reach my brother. Mom's neighbors reported her "just sitting" outside her apartment on the curb. Her caregiver left for the day and because of confusion mom went to sit outside to wait for her. You would think that one of her neighbors would have just brought her back into her home. After all these years of knowing her how could they now just shun her like this?

The time was approaching to place mom into a nursing home my brother and I realizing she needed twenty-four hour care. Talk about feeling guilty and confused. How could we do this to mom? Her wishes were to stay in her home till she died.

Mom now has been in a nursing home for 5 ½ years and my brother and I know that it was the correct thing to do. I call often speaking to the nurses and always ask them to please go tell mom that her daughter Lisa called and send her love. I may only get to visit her every few months yet the staff knows that I take a very active interest in her well-being. Mom no longer knows where she is living yet my brother and I feel secure with the care that she is receiving.

So with deep thought my question is am I any less of a daughter than the others since I am a long distance caregiver? The answer is clear to me. I am my mother’s daughter and no matter how many miles apart we are the love and concern I have for her is as deep as the bottom of the ocean. She is my mother and I will always be her daughter, which also includes being her caregiver.



My new book "Letter To My Mom". It is the continuation of my first book "My Mom My Hero" Available Worldwide on Amazon in Paperback & Kindle.
https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=lisa+hirsch&rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3Alisa+hirsch


Friday, April 6, 2018

THE WARMTH OF TOUCH



THE WARMTH OF TOUCH


My mom has Alzheimer's for over fourteen years and as her disease progresses so does my emotions. I often feel I am on a rollercoaster swaying back and forth as it speeds around many curves shaking up my inner feelings.

This February like the past four years, I once again spent an entire month with my mother. As a long distance caregiver having the opportunity to see her more frequently brings out a more positive responses from her.

Now on most days we find her with eyes closed and very little expression on her face. The sound of music that once delighted her seems to have disappeared. One thing that is constant is that when I take her hand, even when she seems to be sleeping, she holds on tightly as if never wanting to let go.

On several occasions with eyes wide open we also found mom speaking nonstop. Although her speech is gibberish and difficult to understand it still lifted our spirits to hear her come alive. Yet amazingly enough mom said a few profound things such as "people should be happy".

I am always grateful that my wonderful supportive husband joins me. He is so loving to mom especially when I feel a loss for words. Magically he connects with her and finds the right things to say.

The head of nursing has confirmed that mom is in the last stages of the disease. I do not know when she will finally say goodbye, yet in my heart, I do not believe that it is in the near future.

I have shared many times before that this horrific disease also fascinates me. Sometimes I question if I am now in denial or just becoming immune and accepting the situation. The once praying for mom to go to sleep has vanished and a new "space" has opened up for me.

I now feel more serene and have a calmness that is freeing. No more torturing myself of what I wish to be. I know that when mom is ready or the disease has "won", that is when I will have to say my final goodbyes. So for now, I cherish and remember how tightly our hands intertwined never wanting to let go.





My new book "Letter To My Mom". It is the continuation of my first book "My Mom My Hero" Available Worldwide on Amazon in Paperback & Kindle.
https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=lisa+hirsch&rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3Alisa+hirsch