Sunday, February 26, 2012



I just booked a flight to see my mom on Mother’s Day weekend (May 2012). I realize that it is still several months away, yet I seem to get excited and thrilled about visiting my mom.  I am going to phone her right away to share my excitement with her.

"Hi mom, I just called to tell you that I will be visiting you in a couple of weeks”. “Oh great, are you coming alone”?  “Yes mom, I am coming on Mother’s Day weekend because you are my favorite mom”.  My mom laughs aloud and answers with,” that’s great because you only have one mother”. “Yes mom, and even if I had a few mom’s I promise that you would still be my favorite”. My mom then said " I love you".  I wasn't totally sure what I heard my mom say, so I asked her to repeat it. Mom then said, "I almost said I like you, except I really love you".  I answered with "wow mom you just melted my heart".

3 Years Ago

Most everyday that I speak to my mom she would ask me when I am coming over.  She says that she thought I would have visited her just the other day.  I try to explain to her that I live too far away.  Sometimes my mom tells me to take the bus or subway and does not comprehend how far I live.  Sometimes she says” oh I forgot you live so far away”.  I’m in New York and my mom is in Florida.  It gets me sad, that I cannot just get in my car or on the bus or the subway, as she suggests, and visit her for a couple of hours each day.   It seems to put a pang in my heart that she does not understand why I cannot visit her more often.

 I explain to my mom that I’ll be visiting again shortly.  Does time, weeks or days mean anything to her?  Not really, everything is just rolled into one day, one moment; one time for this is all she knows, and all that she is capable of remembering.

As usual, as I leave my mom, she has no memory of my visit.  Yet I know that I just saw her, and for me, at this moment, this is all that is important.  When I return this May (2012) from seeing my mom she will not remember.  Yet to me she is my mom, my very special mom and I wish to celebrate with her all the love I have for her.

 I so much cherish the times that we still have together.  Some days seem to better than others.  Alzheimer’s is such a strange disease, on the way that it comes and goes.  My mom and I are still able to share some smiles and joys together and I know that I must keep looking for the rainbow.  Yes, to me, she will always be, my very special mom.

Monday, February 20, 2012



3 Years Ago

I try to spell with my mom a lot so I may keep her mind active and stimulated.  Does this really help?  I’m not really sure, although today in 2012, I continue to spell with her. I  really enjoy doing this exercise with my mom.

 Several years ago mom use to mention from time to time about these men that were flirting with her. She’d tell me that even though she’s a princess, since I called her Princess Ruthie, she still had to clean her house(which she no longer could do) and she’d then break into singing “Que sera, sera, the futures not ours to see que sera,sera”.  At these times Ruthie was so up and seemed so happy.  It was times like this that I totally enjoyed rejoicing with her.  How I had loved and cherished her happiness and enthusiasm.  It didn’t matter where it came from, it just made me so happy to hear her so happy.  Whatever world she might have been in, it did not matter.  My mom no longer tells me about the flirting men or how she is busy cleaning her house.  That was then, and this is now.

February 2012

Mom still sounds on most days cheerful although I know that she is struggling to hold on.  We can no longer have any real conversations and her words of wisdom have pretty much disappeared.  When I say something to her she will answer with a two to three word response.  Sometimes what she says makes perfect sense, and at other times I need to understand what she is trying to say (mean).

Yet Ruthie is still a pretty good speller.  We have been reciting the whole A-Z alphabet song where my mom gets giddy as she is reciting.  We then start with A and go all the way to Z as mom spells correctly on her own, almost every word I ask her to.  This still amazes me because it certainly takes a memory to spell, especially since mom is not even writing anything down.

The other day when we were done spelling and having  fun, my mom made a serious comment that her mind was not working.  I quickly responded with “mom you have a very good mind ,how can you say that, didn’t you just spell the whole alphabet”?  My mom said nothing. There was just total silence.

At moments like this it definitely seems to be getting more difficult.  I often wonder when my mom says something like that, what is she really thinking. The good thing is that no matter what she immediately thinks, her thoughts are then wiped away, like a ship that is lost at sea.  Lost in her memory for she cannot hold onto anything that she just said, or even imagined.  

I take one day at a time and somehow my mom is still doing pretty well.  She is a strong lady and her spirit has captured my heart in so many ways.   My mom Ruthie ,remains my hero.

Saturday, February 11, 2012



Frank Sinatra sang about his home town New York City, and for my mom and dad this was their home where they were born and raised. My parents left and moved to Florida in 1987 just before my son Logan was born. I have tried since my mom has been ill, to move her back to her home town. Mom's answers have always remained the same.

My mom seems to have bounced back to where she was, before her two frightening episodes of hallucination( which was caused by a UTI infection). This episode landed my mom in the hospital two times just a few weeks ago. I'm absolutely thrilled, knowing how good she is now doing, and I also know that it is temporary. Maybe we'll be lucky and maybe mom will stay how she is for a while . This is all one BIG maybe.

Anyway several days ago when my mom expressed how she missed me and wanted to know when I would be coming to visit . I surprised her with "mom why don't you come and visit me in New York".
I know that this is impossible for her to take this trip, yet mom answered with a "maybe". "Great mom we can go to the Empire State building" which at that moment I really believed that my mom had remembered this landmark. Ruthie replied with "I don't know, it's very high". "Okay mom instead we can enjoy a boat ride around Manhattan" which mom laughed about.

Yes, my mom will be coming back to the city sooner than later. For I want to be near her, and so when she does return ,she will be moving into a nursing home. One that is close to my home so I can visit with her several times a week, and take care of my mom, the way many years ago she took care of me.

Two Years Ago:
Elaine had suggested to me that instead of Logan and I coming to Florida in 2010  to visit my mom, perhaps she should bring my mom to New York.  My initial reaction was one of excitement,” oh great I could take her out to some of her favorite places”, only to follow immediately with reality.  That would not have worked at all.  The summer in 2009 when my mom came to visit with my brother she became more disoriented and even though my husband, my son and I were all with her it was extremely hard on all of us, especially my mom.   I am now living in a new home; one my mom has never stayed at.   I told Elaine that it would be much better for Logan and I to go to mom’s home, a place that my mom felt safe in.  My heart felt heavy knowing that my mom’s last trips to visit me or any other place were now all in the past.  My mom would never see my new home, and if she did she would never remember it.   

My mom ,my hero, I know that one day soon, I will be bringing you back home. Your home called New York City .

Sunday, February 5, 2012



Today was a really good day for my mom as were the last several days.  My heart seems to go up and down with lightness and heaviness depending how my mom is doing each day.  I know this has to be a normal response and I do not question it.  I just know that this is how it is ever since my Ruthie became ill with Alzheimer's.

Fortunately for us my mom still has enough good moments for me to have a smile on my face and to delight in our daily phone calls. Just today I said to my mom after we sang several somgs that neither of us remembered the words to, "Mom, are you my sweetheart", and my Ruthie answered with, "no how could we be, we're both girls. If you were not a girl then I could call you sweetheart".  We both laughed and at that moment, I think even mom understood how silly our converstion was. It really does not matter I just love hearing the sound of my mom's laughter .

The next part of what I'm about to share was at a moment that my heart felt quite heavy.  It goes like this:

As I sat in the waiting room for a tour of another nursing home for my mom, I was left in deep thought and feeling rather sad.  I have seen the dementia floors in several nursing homes only to keep feeling that my mom was not ready for this. Although my mom's illness will progress I know that she has some life left in her. Bringing her to one of these places will probably really upset her and the thought of it seems to sicken me.

My husband has been touring these facilities with me and we are sadly starting to speak about our own mortality and what might lie ahead for us. I'm sure that if my mom could reason, and truly understand what her illness will be doing to her, as it progresses ,she'd probably wish deep in her heart to be able to say goodbye now.

My mom on most days seems happy, yet she has no idea what day or year it is. She knows not where she lives nor can she remember most of her life. I've often described her mind like a blank canvas. It is amazing that Alzheimer's can just remove ones life as if it never existed. My mom has no idea what is happening in the world (which may not be such a bad thing). And although my mom does not remember that I just called or visited her, I know that she can still feel all the love I have for her.

Life can be great and life can be wonderful. Life can also be cruel and hard. None of us know what lies ahead , so we must truly be happy and thankful for each new day that we have. These days are truly a gift.  I know that my mom only wishes for me a day filled with sunshine.