Thursday, June 30, 2011

Rocky,Jasper & BJ (short for Benjamin)

My day started with speaking to my mom and telling her how many people have been reading our blog, my story about her. My mom although I have mentioned and read her parts of it for the last year  seemed  as usual surprised.  I shared with her how exciting it was,because people from all around the world have not only read about her,they have also been inspired by her story. My mom giggled and thanked me for writing this.  I told mom that she was "famous" and she laughed again and replied
"no we're both famous, because without you no one would be able to read it". For a women that has Alzheimer's her comments and things that she is able to think and say,amaze me and put a big smile continuosly on my face.

ROCKY, JASPER & BJ (Short for Benjamin)

I ask my mom if she remembers the dog we once had, the one she made me bring back to the shelter after 2 weeks, because the dog would not bark.  My mom had said that if she was going to have the mess of taking care of a dog it might as well be a watchdog.  Some watchdog, even if the dog did bark it was a small poodle type mutt.  Can you only imagine how a robber would run if he or she saw this dog.  Give me a break.  I had forgotten all about this, and now remember how upset I was at the time.  I was in 7th grade and having a dog meant a lot to me.  I wonder if this was something else that “separated” me from my mom.  Looking back I don’t think so, or though I am not sure.

 So after I was on my own I had two Tibetan Terriers that I adored, and after I got married to Bert we had three Yorkshire Terriers that I loved deeply.  We had two Yorkies before Logan was born and when Logan was around six we then got our third Yorkie.  When each one passed away it truly broke my heart.  For Jasper, Rocky & BJ (short for Benjamin) I had true unconditional love .  Till this day I keep pictures out and miss them deeply.  I am a real animal lover and hold a special place in my heart for my dogs.

I do have very strong feelings for almost every animal that is on this planet.  I have asked my mom if she remembers my three dogs and I repeat their names to her.  She answers that they sound familiar and yet she really cannot remember too much of anything anymore.  I then bring up her Aunt Rose’s dog, who my mom knew for many years before I ever had a dog. I was thinking that she might remember this touching experience she had shared about so many times.  I knew that she loved my aunt’s dog, and I asked her if she remembered when he was dying and she went to visit.  I recalled to her the story that she had told me about for years.  My mom had said that he picked his head up off the pillow when he heard her voice.  She was always touched by this and it meant a lot to her.  Her answer to me today was” I told you I don’t’ remember too much and let’s not talk about it.   I only want to remember the good things”.  So I reply that I understand and can’t help to feel a little sorry that so much has disappeared from her life long memories. After I hang up, I think for someone who can’t remember so very much that what she just shared with me was is some ways quite profound. Once again my mom, my hero, absolutely amazes me.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011



This morning on the news (June 29, 2011) I heard that there might be a hurricane named Arlene hitting our shores.  My post today is about (July 23,2010 ) a hurricane called Bonnie that will be hitting parts of Miami,Florida.   Although my mom has lived through, some of the effects of other hurricanes, it is quite different now.  Years ago her dear friends Anita & Mortie would come and stay with her, because they spent their winters in Florida living in a motor home.  So when they would be in an area considered a danger zone they would pack up and bring food and stay at my mom’s condo.  In that case if my mom lost her electricity I always knew that my mom was not alone and would be fine.  This of course was several years ago.  

My mom did not have Alzheimer’s then although my dad was already deceased.  I remember going to visit Anita & Mortie and their two daughters out in Long Island as a child and also as a teenager.  Anita and my mom were friends since they were in grammar school together.  They shared quite a long dear friendship.  Since then Mortie has passed away and my mom’s friend Anita moved closer to one of her daughters. So when I heard the news today, I thought about how my mom is basically all alone, and what would she do?  I guess if the storm was going to be bad my brother would come before and take her to his home.  Gil lives an hour from her so would Elaine, her caregiver come and rescue her?

 I called my mom and she said that it is raining cats and dogs outside. I all of a sudden thought what a silly phrase.  Did you ever see it rain cats & dogs?  I said something to my mom and she disagreed with me.  She said "it’s just an expression".  I then tell my mom that Elaine will be coming in three hours and she says as usual,” who’s Elaine, and if she comes she comes, and if she doesn’t I don’t care”.

 I remind her that I will be visiting with Logan in exactly two weeks and she tells me once again, to please call her before I come so I can remind her that I am coming.  I respond to mom that I call her every day, which of course she does not remember.  Kidding around I ask my mom” will you bake a cake for me”?  My mom laughs and says" I don’t have any food in the house and you know I don’t cook. Then she says do you want me to look in the refrigerator to see if there is food in it"?  I say okay mom, I’ll hold on.  She gets back on and tells me that there are a lot of small little cups and I guess some other food.  I know that the small little cups are her coffee yogurts that she loves and eats every day.  I proceed to tell her that there has to be food in the refrigerator because Gil takes her shopping every week, and Elaine makes her a meal each day. “Mom, that’s why I call you Princess Ruthie”. Mom laughs and this time, which she has never said before,”okay if I’m the princess who is the prince. “ I’m taken a little by surprise with her question, and for a moment stumble on who her prince might be and then I say Logan(her grandson), and she answers “ great “!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011


It's ironic that todays post is my wondering if what my mom shared with me actually happened, or if she dreamt it or perhaps imagined it.  It doesn't really matter because to her it was real.

I wanted to share about a dream that I woke up with Sunday morning that had upset me greatly.  My dream went like this : My mom and dad(he passed away in 1995) were going to a formal and my mom needed to wear a gown.  While I spoke to my mom on the telephone my mom shared that she didn't even know what a gown was. I told my mom not to worry that I would help her get dressed .
My mom then said to me "I know who you are I just don't remember your face".  I then awoke and wrote my dream down so I would not forget it, and a little while later I shared it with my husband, and started to cry.  I felt a sadness and heaviness with my heart feeling quite heavy. It was only a dream yet perhaps one day this could be reality. My mom does have Alzheimer's and although I live each and every day in a lighter "space" somewhere in the distance I know this can all change.


Mom actually told me that she remembers going outside today and that she was wearing a dress looking very nice.  She said that this older man came over to her and started flirting with her.   She then said he asked her why she was all dressed up and she said that she was waiting for her daughter to come.  Sometimes she tells me about people saying hello to her outside her door, and that she has no idea who they are, or how they even know her name.  

I choose not to say to her “yes mom you probably know them and just can’t remember who they are”.  Why would I ever want to hurt her, especially if she could understand the full meaning of what I said?  Yet I did say mom, you could have said you ‘re sorry you don’t remember their name” and my mom immediately says “no, I just don’t know them”.

 Was this a dream she had about the man with her dress, a delusion, or was she just making it up?  When I tell my mom that she’s so sweet, she answers, I don’t know if I’m so sweet I just know I’m not sour and again we both laugh.  I throw her kisses and tell her how much I love her and she throws her kisses back and says I love you more.  My mom, my hero another good day!


Check this video out -- Alzheimer's Association 2011 Alzheimer's Disease Facts and Figures via @youtube Know anyone AD?

Less than 2 minutes long. Please watch this.

Monday, June 27, 2011



There are certainly some benefits for my mom not remembering some things.  She recently had to get some work done on her teeth and gums.  Elaine, her caregiver took her for the surgery and mom seemed to have never remembered anything.  I asked her if she was feeling okay and Ruthie asked” why”?  I said,”mom you had some surgery in your mouth today”.  My mom said “no I didn’t, I just went to the dentist and had a checkup”. How about the times when she went to the podiatrist who cut her toe nails and she said he didn’t do anything, or the doctor who looked in her rectum, or how “sweet” I am( not remembering all the times that we did not get along).  Times like this it may be not so bad to have no memory. 

Today’s phone call with mom was finding her upbeat and cheerful.  She actually sang me several songs, My Way which was a big hit by Frank Sinatra and Don’t Cry for Me Argentina. When I asked her if she knew who Frank Sinatra was, she answered me yes and sounding like “are you crazy, everyone knows who Frank was”.  After Ruthie finished singing, Don’t Cry For Me Argentina, my mom ads in “I’m so happy that I am alive.  I have lived a long time, not like my husband” (my dad passed away in 1995).  Then she adds in “oh well, when your time is up, your time is up and there is nothing you can do about it”.  This is another favorite expression from my mom.  Then mom started to serenade me again , with Get Me to the Church on Time from My Fair lady , which is her new daily singing encore to me and then If I Knew You We’re Coming I’d Bake a Cake and her finale was ,Singing In the Rain.  She was having lots of fun and certainly enjoying herself.

Could all her singing have to do with my dad?  He had a wonderful voice and always sang show tunes around the house. He had wanted to become a singer and made a demo in a studio when he was around 22 years old.  Maybe her singing, just like her humor, is my dad’s souls embedded in her.

 My mom was never sick ,she was the healthier one of my parents. The only thing that I can recall was that she had 4 hernias (which having one is unusual for a woman, how about having 4).   I actually had a hernia a few years ago and my brother had one last February.  I remember kidding around with my mom and telling her that we “caught” them from her and she said “no you didn’t I never had a hernia.”  As I’ve said before some parts of Alzheimer’s may not be so bad by being able to block out some pain or unpleasant memories.  Sometimes as I think about it, my mom can sound euphoric.  As of now we still remain so lucky.  I choose to delight in her happiness and not dwell on what might lie ahead.

Thursday, June 23, 2011



I keep mentioning to my mom about this memoir/ blog that I am writing, and she says that sounds wonderful.  “Mom it’s about you & me and our relationship”.  Ruthie listens and I mention to her that we use to fight a lot, and how we now get along quite marvelously.  My mom says” we never fought”.  I say,” mom you just don’t remember” and she says, “maybe you think we fought”.  I reply that it really doesn’t matter, because my blog is about how much I love you, our “new” relationship and how much you inspire me, each and every day.  I also include saying to her, that she has become my hero.  Mom says,” oh good “and she sounds totally relieved.

Sometimes I call my mom a little later in the morning around 11AM – 12 noon and she tells me that she is getting into bed.  I ask her if she tired and she responds with a simple no.  I tell Ruthie that it’s lunchtime or late morning and ask why she is going into bed.  Mom tells me that it doesn’t matter.  “I’m just tired of sitting on the chair, my backside starts to hurt, so I just went into bed to rest”.  

From what I think my mom goes to sleep most days for the night between 4-6PM.  She has no recollection of time or day.  She probably awakes in the middle of the night (which to her is morning) and is up for quite a few hours before getting into bed at that early(4PM) hour.  I really hope that she’s still okay being on her own.  I actually do not believe this to be true and since my brother is “watching “over her, in more ways than one ,I need to believe that he is doing the correct thing for her.  There are certainly moments when this upsets me. I'm fortunate that when I see my husband in the evening I get to  share my feelings with him .  Mom does have her caretaker come four hours a day and Elaine has reassured me that my mom is still doing okay.

When children live in different states from their aging parents and one child lives nearby it seems that they in some ways become “in charge”.  So unless I move to Florida which is impossible or unless I can get my mom up to NY I need to trust my brother( which I certainly do).  

At times our relationship through the years has not been close.  For my mom’s sake and because he is my brother I need to make it work and get along with him.   I certainly do appreciate all that he does for her.  For this I am very thankful.  I am also happy that my brother and I, have left our differences behind us, and have become a family again.
FACT- Alzheimer’s disease cannot be slowed or cured.  We all need to take the time to help spread awareness around the world about Alzheimer's. This is a worldwide epidemic.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011



 On a light note, I seemed to switch places with my mom today.  I became my mom and she became me.  This morning she was trying to help me find my mascara that I had misplaced. While on the phone with my mom I was going to put my eye makeup on, which can easily be done, while I have her on the speaker phone.  I then began to move about, which is what I do from time to time.  While speaking to my mom I cannot find my mascara and under eye concealer.  As we continue to talk, I keep opening and closing the draws in my bathroom vanity where they always are.   I can’t find them so I start getting upset and my mom says” so you’ll go buy new ones”, and I say” that’s not the point.  I always keep them in the same place”.   My mom tells me to check my handbag and to take everything out of the bag.  After emptying my bag, I still cannot find my makeup, she then tells me to retrace every place where I have been.  I look in my handbag again and the kitchen garbage (did I accidently throw them out)?  Ruthie tells me to look in the clothes I wore yesterday, and my robe, which I have already done.  She asks me how much it would cost to replace them, I say maybe $30 dollars “but mom that’s not the point” how can they just disappear?  My mom then says don’t worry they’ll reappear and I start to laugh. 

Did I become her or did she become me?  Did we just trade places?  I didn’t like the feeling of being confused not understanding what had happened to my makeup that is always in the same place, same draw all of the time.  I’ve been with her when she goes through similar episodes and is looking in her handbag for her 4 pairs of glasses.  She seems to wander back and forth trying to find what she has misplaced.  I feel lots of compassion for her as she keeps looking, not understanding what she did with them.  Here I “understanding” what I am doing, yet feeling so confused and frustrated at, how could I have lost my makeup?  Where can it be? What’s happening to me?  Am I in early stages of dementia or Alzheimer’s also?  

Anyway after I hang up I find the makeup, it only fell on the floor behind the toilet. Why didn’t I think of looking there before I went through garbage cans and had an anxiety attack?  

I call my mom back to tell her I found them and she asks where and I start to laugh, and tell her I felt like her for a second, and she replies “why I have a good memory and I don’t lose things”. Sure mom, whatever you say.  She’s still looking for her watch that she can’t find for a year, now she says she never had one! We we’re like the blind leading the blind for a few minutes there although my mom, my hero stayed cool and calm as she told me where to look and it felt real good , my mom once again taking care of me.  What a wonderful warm feeling.  I thank you mom.

Monday, June 20, 2011


Yesterday was Father's Day.  I reflected on my dad and knew how much love I always had for him. During my childhood my love and affection that I had for my dad was plentiful. It was my relationship with my mom that was distant.  Yes, I was daddy's little girl.

Anyway over the weekend my mom was so sharp and so aware. Ruthie was in the moment. I actually told my son and husband on Sunday, that you would never ever know that my mom had Alzheimer's.

This morning when I spoke to my mom she sounded okay ,yet her caregiver entered mom's home while we were speaking, and asked my mom who she was speaking to.  My mom said her son.  I said "mom I'm not your son" and mom answered " who are you"? I just think she had a little confusion, because Elaine her caregiver said as she entered "let's go I'm taking you on the road", and my mom started to sing "on the road again" and was giggling.  I hear that part of the disease is that people can go in and out of it. Still in my heart I really do not think Ruthie thought she was speaking to my brother, I think she just got thrown off course for a few seconds.

 Am I in a little denial ? It doesn't really matter.


 Today mom actually said something new to me.  While reminding mom that Logan and I will be coming to visit shortly she talked about me moving down and I said “mom we have the same conversation all the time” and she answered with “your right; but let’s just say what would I really do if I were to move up by you.  Watch TV all day even though that is what I do now in my home?  You and your family all have your own life, and you’ll leave to go out and I would be all alone in your home anyway”.  It’s this kind of reasoning from her that still amazes me.(Actually this weekend –June, 2011  my mom expressed this very same thing).

 As I’ve said the mind and the disease is so complicated.  From what I read my mom’s happiness and sweetness is not that common with Alzheimer patients.  I have heard  that more people get frustrated, aggressive and angry and may act out in hostile ways. So in some ways my mom having Alzheimer’s has opened doors for me to have a second chance, so to speak with my mom, and our relationship.  I get to really be there for her, to hear everything she has to say and to delight in her humorous, upbeat personality and to learn from her words. Words that she may have spoken before, that I either did not listen to or words of wisdom that I did not want to hear.

My mom today said for the very first time that she was getting lonesome, that she wished my dad was still with her and then she said “it will be okay, this too will pass”.  I know that Elaine has told me that when she comes, my mom gets excited and says she so glad that she came because she has been bored and yet to me, she has never mentioned it.  Even if I were to ask her if she was bored she’d say “oh no. I’m out of breath, I just ran to answer the phone, and I’ve been so busy around the house. I just got to sit down”. Okay mom, I think to myself; busy doing what?  Sometimes I have asked her and she answers with “I took a shower, washed my hair, scrubbed my tub, and took the garbage out”.  Only to know the truth, that she did none of this.

Thursday, June 16, 2011


As always I speak to my mom everyday. Mom has no memory of anything I might say, a few seconds after I say it.  I always need to repeat it to her and she still cannot remember it. Yet yesterday and today she brought up to me this Mother's Day card that I had sent her. This card which I thought was special, has a beautiful pop up flower. Ruthie tells me on both days that she looks at her Mother's Day card (that I sent her) everyday and see's this beautiful flower. Mother's Day was over four weeks ago. All I can say is WoW !


I had mentioned to my mom in the same conversation that Darlene my x sister in law (who I am still so very close with) sent me a birthday card.  My brother had several marriages that ended in divorce.  Darlene was one of them .  She is Aunt Darlene to Logan and the sister I never had. Darlene is one of the most special, spiritual human beings that you could ever meet.  My mom did see her only three years ago.  Darlene is very involved with the Dalai Lama and was in New York for the opening of an Art show, that she had put together; and was in the process of taking it around the world.  We planned the dates and purposely had my mom come to New York at the same time so they could see one another. At that time my mom could still travel  by herself  to visit.   Both my parents loved Darlene deeply and had stayed in contact with her for many years after my brother & she split up.

Today my mom said she did not know who Darlene was. For a second my heart hurt for the loss of this meaningful enduring relationship that just faded away from my mom’s memory.  Her disease of Alzheimer’s makes me wonder how it can just wipe away my mom’s memory of people, family and friends whom she has known for years and years and had shared so much with.   A whole lifetime of people and experiences gone just like that.   And then I ask, how does my mom remember to spell all these words in a few seconds flat?   Can the mind be so cruel? Or perhaps different parts of the brain are not affected.  Does she know what is happening to her?  Is she scared?  As of now I think not.  So another wonderful day goes by where I still have my mom, the one who still answers the phone with a big smile in her voice when I say “Hi mom, how’s my favorite mom"!  I am still so grateful and filled with much gratitude.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

SUMMER OF 2010 (continued)

Today when I spoke to my mom I was "playing" with her how she inherited all the beautiful features.
Straight hair,small nose, pretty little face and how I inherited the opposite; curly hair, a long face and big nose.
I told Ruthie that she is so pretty. Ruthie "replied I'm so glad you think I'm so pretty.and I think that you Lisa are really beautiful ".Thanks mom, and we all know that beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.  Being beautiful inside and caring about people is what really matters.

SUMMER OF 2010 (continued)

 Ruthie of course would like Logan and me to stay longer.  I explain to her that Logan has a job and that he can only take off Friday.  Mom thinks that she came up with a great idea, “so why doesn’t Logan quit his job”? Easy for Ruthie to say!  Princess Ruthie works no longer, although for many years when I was growing up she helped my father every day in his business.

Once again my mom tries to convince me to move in with her.  We have had numerous conversations about her moving to New York, and all she ever says is that she is not moving.  She loves her home, she has a lot of beautiful furniture (or memories, if she has any left) and that I should be the one to move, not just near her but with her. I say to her” how can I do that Bert (my husband) works, so do I, and I want to be near Logan.  Mom tells me that I would not have to pay for anything.  She is adamant that she has no bills.  I have tried to tell her that they would turn off her electricity if she didn’t pay her bills.   I explain that my brother Gil pays her bills for her with her social security checks.  She then tells me as usual that she has no money and insists no bills.  These are always the same conversations.  It’s funny how certain things she remembers so well and always has the same answers.

 Maybe not having any bills or money issues is a pretty good thing.  Alzheimer’s disease in some ways protects the person who is suffering.  No problems, no worries.  Perhaps as I have stated before it is the family who might be suffering more that the victim of the disease.  I am no way trying to make light of Alzheimer’s, I’m just trying to focus for my mom on the positive parts of what is happening to her.  Some days I find I get upset that she is so far away and how I would love to be near her.  I find it difficult at times to understand how her condo and her furniture seem to mean more to her then to be near to all of us.

 Although when I sit back and really hear what she is saying( that for the last twenty years this has been her home that she shared with her husband) one filled with lots of memories of my dad, I can then understand why she doesn’t want to let go of it.  Mom says that it’s her home and this is where she wants to be till she dies.  I have told my mom that if daddy were alive he’d move up to be near me and she answers me with “men are different then women they live differently and do different things”.  And for now while she still knows what she knows, before the Alzheimer’s totally steals her away this is where she can and will remain.


Tuesday, June 14, 2011


First I'd like to take a moment to celebrate my dad's birthday,which was yesterday -June 13.
My dad passed away in 1995 at the age of seventy four. Hi daddy, I do miss you alot and think of you often.


Today when I called my mom to share with her that my son Logan took me out to dinner last night for my birthday she said “oh it’s your birthday”.  “Yes mom, it was yesterday and you even sung to me Happy Birthday”.  “I did she replied”?  “Yes mom, anyway how is my favorite mom doing”?  Mom answers me with her quick wit “why, do you have another mom?”  I laughed out loud and smiled to myself about how sharp her mind is and how and quick she can answer.  Ruthie has a real sense of humor, with most of the things she says.  I find this so interesting because my mom was not always like that.  

This is the same mom who cannot remember her own daughter’s birthday or my age.  My age I’m glad she doesn’t remember (I wish I didn’t).  Although I broke down and told Ruthie my age and I had her promise not to tell anyone. This is ironic because Ruthie could never remember my age to utter it to anyone. Mom responds that I look very good for my age and asks me  what about her?  I tell her that she also looks great.   Anyway with her words of wisdom, once again she says, that “if you have your health that is all that really matters”.  My mom is 25 years older than me and although she suffers from Alzheimer’s and has macular degeneration*, she is doing quite well.

I remind Ruthie about the memoir I am writing about us ,and she asks me to bring it when I visit so she can read it.  Ruthie cannot read it because she couldn’t even see it.  “Mom I will be coming to see you with Logan in 3 weeks (for a long weekend).  Quick trip in and out and she replies “that’s better than not coming at all “!

*Macular Degeneration is a medical condition which usually affects older adults that results in a loss of vision in the center field (the macular) because of damage to the retina. It is major cause of visual impairment in older adults. Macular degeneration can make it difficult or impossible to recognize faces or read, although the peripheral vision remains to allow other activities of daily life.

Thursday, June 9, 2011


I share with my mom when I’m feeling excited, sad, upset and even frustrated.  I like to hear what she has to say and I guess that’s the “little girl” in me that wants her mom to celebrate my joys, and sympathize with something that might be bothering me.  Sometimes I feel sad, that when I share something wonderful with her she will not really remember it.  Sharing any of my joy with her, especially Logan’s accomplishments is very temporary for her, and still I am so thankful that I can still have any part of my mom.  You might say that I’m filled with much gratitude for what we still have.

My mom is still feisty and although she seems to be bored, she does sound almost each and every day happy.   She is still a wonderful speller and I like to challenge her to spell to help stimulate her mind.  Mom chooses not to leave her home and when she does go out she only wants to return immediately.   Elaine her caregiver takes wonderful care of her and makes sure that she eats, takes a shower, brushes her teeth and wears clean clothes. 

Yesterday I told my mom what I was doing for the day, and Ruthie asked me once again, like she does so frequently now, if I would then come over and visit.  I tell mom that I cannot because I live far away.   Mom answers this time by saying, “I understand”.  I actually think that she might really be remembering this.  Or maybe she is just saying it.  It doesn’t really matter as long as she still remembers me.  They call it gratitude!


Today my mom was back to sounding like herself.  Happy ,perky and cheerful.  I am also happy to say that as of recent, my mom is glad when I tell her that Elaine her caregiver is coming.  The one thing that never seems to change, is Ruthie saying to me ,"whose Elaine"?


My mom had stopped driving for quite a while.  Her car sat unused in front of her house.The one time that my mom tried to take her car (that would not start) was to vote in November 2008 for Barack Obama.  It was quite interesting to see her will.  Anyway, if she would have gotten her car to start, she could have been either lost or killed.  Some way someone up there was looking after her, or if you ask my mom, with her words of wisdom (till this day) is” when your time is up, your time is up and there’s nothing you can do about it.”

 So my mom didn’t get to vote, and at that time she at least was aware of who was running for office, and she wanted to cast her ballot.  I think the last time I asked her who was President of the United States she said that good looking guy whose father was from India.  Good try mom and close enough!

Ruthie recently said to me “when you are smart you stay smart, and if you are dumb you can get smart”.  I’m not sure why she said this, or where her thinking came from.  Yet I get a quick out of her and really appreciate that she can still think and say some interesting things.  I guess I can say that my mom is still one smart lady!

Every so often my mom can get a little frustrated.  This happens rarely and yet when it does she can say to me” don’t quiz me about who’s coming today, just tell me”, and I say “why”, and she answers “because Y is a crooked letter”.  We both laugh and I respond by saying,” mom I’m not quizzing you, I’m trying to see if you can remember.  It’s Wednesday and Gil is coming to take you out to lunch and food shop”. This is the same thing he does with my mom every Wednesday and yet she can never remember it.  I then ask my mom to spell remember and she does so immediately.  I then ask her to spell magnificent and aristocratic, and she spells both words correctly.  When I have her spell different words she starts to laugh.  Ruthie certainly is the spelling Queen.  Isn’t the mind /brain fascinating?  So mom you cannot remember anything yet you can remember to spell!  Does anyone understand this or know the answer?

The other day my mom decided to discuss with me about people’s memories.  She says that some people can remember things and others cannot.  She then says that it is interesting to her because sometimes you can remember something that you couldn’t remember the other day. She describes it by saying that your memory can come back.  I just listen as she speaks. My mom actually is telling this to me as a statement, almost 3rd person. She almost sounds like she is speaking about someone else.  I just listen and take it all in.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011


Before I begin todays post I would like to share yesterdays  phone call with my mom .
When  mom  answered the phone I said "hi Ruthie" not realizing that my mom did not recognize my voice. We spoke, and for the third day in a row, she did not sound as perky as usual. After we spoke for a while I heard Elaine ask my mom who she was speaking to and my mom answered "my friend".

That was when I reallized that my mom did not know who I was.  I realized that I must have thrown her off by saying "hi Ruthie", instead of my always and forever,"hi mom'.  You can bet that I will never do that again.


I actually have my own theory of why my mom “refuses” to like Elaine.  Elaine represents a disciplinary to my mom and my mom is still sharp enough, and aware and feisty enough, that she  thinks she does not need any one to take care of her.  Ruthie says she eats, showers and dresses on her own.  She questions if we all think that she’s a baby?  No mom I don’t think that at all. What I do think and what I do know is that I am so proud of who you are.

 It took me a long time to find out what a special lady you are, and to rediscover within myself how much I love you.  I do not know how much time we have left before you may not know who I am.  So as of now July, 2010 I cherish every phone call, and know that you mom are my hero.

My mom to me was always outspoken and someone who was not afraid to speak her mind.  She was always friendly to people she knew, and would smile at strangers.  I remember her being willing to speak to almost anyone she came in contact with.  Yet when Elaine first came to take care of my mom, my mom refused to go out.  Her first venture outside with Elaine was taking my mom out to get Logan a birthday card.  My mom refused to go out so Elaine knew that my mom would do anything for her grandson Logan.  Elaine told my mom that they were going out to see Logan.  I said fearfully, “Elaine, when you get her to the mall and Logan is not there what you are going to say?”  Elaine replied,” don’t worry she’ll never remember what I said”. This may sound cruel to you and it is not.  Elaine did get Ruthie to go out and that is what is most important.

They do not do much, because as soon as Elaine takes mom out, my mom wants to go back home.  At least my mom gets to leave her “safe haven” or prison to take a walk at the mall or to get a haircut.  I wish we could get my mom to be more active.  That would certainly help.  Just to think of how active my mom was, and now how she just likes to stay “safe” in her home.  My brother and I have given up.  Only if she would be willing to participate in some activities she could be stimulating her brain.   I’m not really sure if this would slow down the disease. It would just make all of us all “feel better”.

Monday, June 6, 2011



 Elaine is just wonderful. In November 2009 she picked my mom up to take her to her house for Thanksgiving, and this year she took my mom to her house for July 4th 2010.  Whenever I call and ask if Elaine is there, or if I can speak to Elaine, my mom says the same thing, “whose Elaine”?  She refuses to remember her name.  No way Jose.  My mom tells me that Elaine doesn’t do anything.  Mom says she just sits in the black chair next to her and watches television with her. My mom says” Lisa, I don’t know how to explain to you, I just don’t like her”.  I tell her I hope your nice to her and my mom says” oh I’m never nasty to anyone”.  

Mom does say that Elaine has a nice daughter and son, but not her.  Mom why don’t you like her and she always has the same answer. " Lisa she doesn’t do anything she just sits here".  Mean while, Elaine makes my mom food, makes her shower and get dressed and comb her hair, brush her teeth, change her sheets and towels, runs her wash, makes sure the toilet is flushed(my mom rarely remembers to do that)and straightens up her home.  She takes her to the dentist, gives her vitamins and pills, takes her to the podiatrist, and most of all spends time with her. Elaine struggles with Ruthie to make sure that she gets out for walks and to the mall.

 I tell my mom that Gil and I really like her.  Ruthie says” how you know you’re not with her”?  I say” because you sound great and that you have gained weight since she is with you.  Also when I call, you and Elaine are laughing.  Mom she’s not there to clean your house, she’s there to keep you company”.  I tell Ruthie that Elaine likes her a lot, and she says" she does"?  I didn’t think so because she doesn’t talk to me.  This is the same way she will say that I or my brother never call her.  My mom just imagines this.  Yet the next time it is the very same conversation about Elaine.   In Elaine’s case my mom, always has the same complaint about Elaine and always says the same thing about her. This she remembers all too well. Isn’t that amazing!   When I have asked my mom, why she does not like to go out with Elaine, she replies” because she’s not my type”!   Okay mom I think to myself, and wonder how can you even try to reason with her about that?  Mom says that Elaine tries to trick her.  Elaine asks my mom to take a walk and my mom says Elaine then has her walk to China and back.  Mom says that she’s just not going to walk with her anymore.

Elaine tells me that she took my mom for another haircut.  When my mom gets on the phone she starts to tell me about her haircut that she got yesterday.  She says that they cut her hair so short she has no hair on her neck but that it does look good.  My mom says that they asked her how they should cut her hair, and she told them to do whatever they want, since they know best.  Did you ever try telling a hairdresser that?  You’re lucky if you have any hair left.  Some hairdressers are scissor crazy.  After the haircut, Elaine took my mom out for a pastrami and turkey sandwich. I hear Elaine in the background telling my mom to tell me.  My mom doesn’t recall it yet she’s been telling me over and over again each day about her short haircut.  It’s funny how certain things do stay in her memory/ brain.   I tell my mom that I’m sure it looks good, and tell her that she use to have pixie haircuts, and they looked great on her pretty little face.  I say” mom you can’t glue your hair back it will grow”, and she responds with” well I can glue it front.”  We laugh and I smile at her quick mind and sense of humor. Ruthie has become quite funny.

Friday, June 3, 2011



I usually do not blog on Fridays, although I just hung with my mom and I feel so uplifted and thrilled.
Mom was having a really great day. I read her some of my original posts, Girl With A Curl and
Ruthies Childhood. Ruthie chimed in immediately and recited the Girl with A Curl Poem and remembered quite a bit of her childhood which she seemed to delight in hearing about.

After my reading to her I then asked her to make sure that my spelling was correct. Mom spelt me several words (with a few mistakes this time) and then I asked her to spell the word adorable.
I then said to my mom you are adorable which made her laugh (as before) and this time she said"well you are adorable also", meaning me of course. We both laughed again, thanked each other and
threw our kisses through the telephone wires.

What a difference a day makes from my feeling a little upset after speaking to my mom yesterday. Today mom also said" oh great" when I told her that her cargiver would be coming in about an hour. This is the very first time she ever expressed that to me about Elaine.

Ruthie sweet Ruthie, how I love when you seem all there and are having a super day !

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Mom's Last Trip East

Before I begin my actual blog for today, I would like to share my phone call with my mom this morning.  I'm feeling a little heavy in my heart for my mom(or maybe really for me). I told my mom that my brother Gil would be coming today to take her to lunch which he has done for several years .

My mom had no recollection of that, which again is the same way that she cannot remember anything (for over a year now). Ruthie started to tell me that she was dressed although she could not find her shoes. She was wearing shoes that were too big for her and had no socks on. I know that my mom has her shoes lined up next to the recliner chair where she watches her tv everyday. For some reason today she could not find them. After several minutes she was able to see them as I tried to assist her in finding them.

I then told my mom that she would have a very nice time with Gil and my mom said, "why, what do we do"? Mom I said, you and Gil go out and have a nice lunch each week. Mom then said you're right, I just cannot remember anything and with my famous answer, I say "mom you remember how much I love you, don't you"? Ruthie laughs and says "yes". I say mom that's all that really matters you can remember.  Thank you for letting me share this today, so I may lighten up. I'm not sure why today her seeming confused and lost, panged my heart.


 I did know after the last trip, summer of 2009 when my brother brought my mom up, to my home in Sparta, that she would not be returning due to her illness she was too disoriented and had some other health issues that are connected to Alzheimer’s.  She was constipated and in terrible pain that she did not tell us about.  It was quite upsetting.  My mom would go in the bathroom and cry to herself about how much pain she was in.  When I heard her and told my brother he confronted her and she denied it all.

 During this visit we took my mom and brother to see my cousin Carole who lives out in Long Island.  This is my dads, brother’s daughter, who my mom knew so well.  Many years ago as a family we were very close and visited them frequently. Not too long ago we all spent the Jewish holidays and Thanksgiving with Cousin Carole, her kids and grandchildren.  Several years prior my mom had also flown up to attend one of her son’s weddings. I showed my mom pictures from my album before we left, and even after arriving at cousin Carole’s my mom could not remember her.  I stayed close by her and whenever she went into the house to use the bathroom she would get lost trying to find her way out.  

We stayed outside because it was summer and we were having a barbecue.  My brother Gil really enjoyed seeing everyone, since it had been a long stretch of time since he did.  My cousin Carole and he stayed in touch via email for quite a few years.  Again how could my mom have no remembrance of Cousin Carole, my father’s brother’s daughter, who we visited every weekend when I was a child?  Regardless, we all seemed to have a lovely day.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Arriving Back to New York


By the time I arrived back in NY I had only a whisper left, and by the time I woke up in my own bed, the next day, I had literally no voice left to speak.  I did call my doctor and went to see him. Yet because I couldn’t speak I did not call my mom for five days.  How ironic is that.  I knew that I would miss my mom very much.  Did I subconsciously try to distance myself from her?  A thought that crossed my mind, was that I had been protecting myself from wanting to see or speak to her .

 I actively went on a search and got a name of a well known, well respected assisted living facility, or in my mom’s case, a facility that accepted live in patients with Alzheimer’s( located in the Bronx, N.Y.).  This “home” everyone seems to know about and has a fabulous reputation.

The only problem is, as usual, Ruthie says that she not leaving her beautiful home until she’s literally unable to “care for herself” or dies.  So now what do I do?  At this point I can’t make her move and when that day arrives that she needs full care, will she  even remember who I or Logan are? I don’t think so, and I do not even want to think that far ahead .  I choose to enjoy who my mom is today.

It’s amazing being with my mom seeing her go in and out of her reality.  Although she seems so much better, and when I speak to her on the phone she usually sounds great.  I guess if I were to see her every day I would see more and more of how the Alzheimer disease affects her.

In May when I sent my mom a mother’s day card that she never remembered getting, I asked her to please look on her kitchen table, because I knew she received it.  It was one of the many singing cards that I had sent her.  She use to love to open them while I was on the phone, play the music for me and dance to them every morning when we spoke.  She’d tell me to hold on and she would go get them, like a proud child.  She would open each one, and sing to me.  This is something that she does not do anymore.  Anyway she could not find my card so she told me to hold on and she went into her pocketbook and said “I have a lot of cards in my bag.  I have a Discover Card a Visa Card “and I said okay mom that’s not what I was asking about.  Although I laughed to myself and found what she said to be so cute, I also realized how her mind did not understand.

FACT-Alzheimer’s Disease cannot be slowed, prevented or cured. It has become a worldwide epidemic.