Monday, November 21, 2011



My mom probably has Alzheimer’s now for at least 5-6 years, if not longer.  I realize now that
when  I look back there were such obvious things starting to change with my mother.  Perhaps I should have been more aware of what was happening to her.  Maybe I did take notice and just chose to ignore it, (like it might go away).  Could it have been my imagination, or just not wanting to accept that this could be happening to my mom? Or was I just in denial?  My Aunt Phyllis who was married to my Uncle Alvin, my mom’s only brother, had been suffering for many years with Alzheimer’s.  My Aunt Phyllis had been the first one to point out to me the changes in my mom, although I think at the time my brother and I chose to ignore them.  We probably thought that our aunt was just saying it, since Uncle Alvin who was younger was starting to really get bad.  

As I think back now, here are some of the signs that I noticed when my mom would come to visit for one to two weeks in the summer.   Just ignoring it at the time, seemed easier.

Mom’s – Signs of Alzheimer’s

 1) Started dressing in dirty/stained clothes when she was always so meticulous.

 2) Left crumbs and dirty dishes all on my kitchen counter after she ate.  She would never have done that before. She would have placed the dishes in the sink and cleaned the counter.

3) Brought her summer clothes up to NY for Thanksgiving (winter time).

 4) Kept telling us that she would resume going to all her clubs when they had already started (up again).  They stopped in the summers and now it was the winter.

5) She told me she got lost in her car when she went to the supermarket and her doctor, sounding upset because she had traveled these routes many times before.

 6) When my aunt had invited her over for dinner when she got picked up she was not dressed and forgot all about what day and time she was invited for.

 7) My aunt had mentioned to me that when she did see my mom she was dressed in dirty clothes, something my mom never would have done.

8) Wouldn't look at all the home decor magazines that I saved for her visits , that she at one time enjoyed looking at.

After realizing what was happening to mom I just wanted to be back in the space of laughing with her.  I wanted to feel uplifted by what she said and who she was. I wanted to rejoice in her new found dignity, how she handled what was going on with her and to stay inspired by her.  I found that when I was having a hard day about my mom, filled with feelings of sadness that I would hold onto that maybe tomorrow will be a better day.  I also sometimes wondered if this is how I might one day be.  Will I be like my uncle or my mom?  Is this disease hereditary?  Especially when I sometimes cannot remember something as simple as, did I brush my teeth?  Sometimes, I need to touch my toothbrush to see if it is wet.  

Anyway it is now years later and here is my mom, the special one. The one I can still call my hero.  We still can laugh together and there are still moments when my mom is sharp.  No it is not the same ,and why should it be for in life, life does not stand still.  Only if time could, would we choose to freeze it?

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