Friday, July 27, 2012



Once there was a time when my mom and her only grandchild would spend hours watching movies together, laughing, hugging and holding hands. Logan and his grandma were both movie lovers and Logan could watch the same movie over and over. Each time his grandmother came to visit they would have popcorn and pretzels as they put on another movie. They must have seen "Home Alone" together at least one hundred times.

I must admit that my mom was a great sport, to watch the same movie, over and over, year after year. I would not have been able to do that.  I guess for your grandchild, you would do anything, especially one that my mom adored so much. Mom always told me how much she loved Logan and how she felt he loved her back.

I remember when my husband and I would pick my parents up at the airport, and as they approached the gate, they would scoot right by us, to pick Logan up in their arms. Almost as if we did not even exist. After a few moments of them smothering Logan with kisses and hugs, I would then say "hey, remember us"?

We'd all would laugh, and I loved to watch the joy they had for my one and only child.  It thrilled their hearts, and mine as well.

Today is a different story. Actually, last year when Logan and I went to visit her in Florida, she asked Logan, while they were watching television together, if he had any brother's or sister's. Things of course have really changed since my mom has Alzheimer's. I want to believe that she remembers Logan although I'm not really sure.

There are pictures of him scattered, at all ages all over her home, on her refrigerator and yet mom because of her macular degeneration can no longer really focus to see him .

The other day mom was having glimpses of some memories, so I decided to I share with her that Logan and his gilrfriend were looking for an apartment together.  I  told her that I was thrilled since we really did like her. Mom thought that it was so nice, except she asked me two questions. One was "how old is the little boy"? Which I answered, "the little boy is not so little, he's twenty four years old". The other question, almost broke my heart as she uttered the words, "does he like me"? "Mom, not only does he like you, he also loves you".  I could feel the happiness flowing from her heart.

I then shared with mom that Gil, her son was coming today to see her. Mom answered with,"oh great ,and is this my real son"? I giggled and said "of course mom, you have only one son, and he is the real one". Mom seemed to enjoy that, as I wondered what was she thinking.

As I hung up the phone I thought about the several conversations we just had and thought how horrific Alzheimer's is. How can this disease just remove all of her memories, her identity, her past and even her future. The moment something happens one second later it is all gone .

Even when I share with my mom that I am coming to visit, she cannot hold on to the joy that in the near future I will be arriving. The whole thought and experience is lost that second and disappears into no where land.

I sit and wonder how my mom spoke those words asking me does he like me?  I felt a sadness about how can this disease destroy all these brain cells, bit by bit to there is nothing left. How can she forget the feelings of his love?

All that I have left to say is "mom, your grandson not only loves you, he adores you for all the things that you once shared, for being his grandmother, and for all the love he truly has felt from you.

Powerful tape only 2 minutes long.Please watch and pass along.

Friday, July 20, 2012



My vacation started the week that I would also be celebrating my birthday. As usual I phoned my mom each day to say hello and see how she was doing. I can always tell from the sound of her voice and how she responds to me, what her state of mind is.

This week was not one of her better ones. She was confused about most of the things that I spoke about. She mentioned that she still lived in New York, which was her home twenty five years ago. Mom no longer knows when I was born or how old I am ,which is not necessarily a bad thing.
When I whispered my age, she was able to make a joke and tell me that I was catching up to her. With that we both giggled like teenage girls.

 My mom asked me to please remind her again, the day of my birthday. She was concerned that she would not remember. I reassured her that I will absolutely let her know as she serenaded me with "Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you". As she got to the verse to say my name, mom said "you, you". When she finished singing I said, "mom who is you, you"? Sounding a little embarrassed she said "its you and I just forgot your name ,although it is on the tip of my tongue". "Mom here is a hint for you, my name starts with the letter L". She shouted out, "Lisa" sounding so proud of herself.

 On the day of my birthday, I reminded my mom, and she then sang again to me. This time she got it correct and added in Lisa, as she reached that part of the lyrics. I excitedly thanked her for bringing me into the world and she responded with "how did I bring you into the world"? "Mom, you gave birth to me", which she seemed confused and not able to comprehend. Since my dad passed away seventeen years ago, I now do not have a parent who can truly celebrate bringing me into this world.

As I hung up the phone I realized that my mood had shifted. I was feeling a pang in my heart for my mom and maybe also for me. My mind started racing and thinking about people who have cancer and what they perhaps need to go through. Chemo and or radiation therapy. I hear how sick this can make them feel. Yet, I also thought of how Alzheimer's disease can remove someones entire existence, their entire life, as if it never happened. I wondered to myself which disease was better or worse, if given the choice.

I needed to get my mind away from this and back into enjoying our vacation.  As we were driving into the sunset I was then able to shake off these feelings. We started climbing the winding roads and through the mountains in the Berkshires , being very close to the borders of Vermont. I was able to appreciate all the beauty that was right there before my eyes, and feel refreshed by the breeze of the fresh country air. I felt once again alive, and so thankful for all the wonderful things that I have in my life . Things that on some days we can all take for granted.

My mom in a few days seemed to bounce back again, and for this and the time we still have together I cherish and celebrate all the love and affection that we can share. She may not remember the day I was born ,or the very first time when she held me in her arms, yet I can  still feel all the love that she has for me and all the love I have for her.

Saturday, July 7, 2012



Today when I spoke to my mom I mentioned that it was my birthday in eight days.  When I questioned her about what day I was born, and how old I would be, mom then said that she had no recollection of any of it.  I whispered to her my age and with humor, she answered , "you're catching up to me".  I  giggled at her quick and witty response.

When I phoned mom and her caregiver Elaine, had just been watching a love story on the television . Elaine was so excited to she share with me what my mom had just finished saying.  Mom said to her that the movie was a beautiful love story. She continued to tell her that she lost her husband a long time ago (seventeen years to be exact) and how much she really missed him.  The next thing she said was that she'd do anything to have him back.

What my ears had just heard sent chills up and down my spine. Out of my sometimes fear ,to not cause my mom any unnecessary pain, I avoid bringing up my dad to her.  At times when I have, my mom usually says that she cannot remember him.

No matter how many times I have heard this from her, I still find it amazing that to be married for fifty years and to have shared a family and lifetime together that she cannot recall any of it.  How sad this truly is.

The saving grace for me, and of course my mom, is that I know deep in my heart, that whatever memories  she just had of my dad, are now long forgotten.  She could no longer feel any pain or sadness.

"Hi mom, I heard you just watched a movie that you liked a lot". Mom answered with "yes it was very good". What was it about"?  I inquired. I then heard my mom ask Elaine to please tell me what the movie was about, for she could not remember.

The feelings of her remembering my dad was all but washed away. Something like a passing rain shower or even more, a rainbow that quickly fades away.

Mom and dad were married in 1942, when she had just turned eighteen years old.  My dad was turning twenty one and soon to be shipping off with the Navy. They were married for fifty years, and now for my mom it seems to be a life that has been taken away.  I wonder how such a disease can destroy a lifetime of memories. 

Hopefully one day researchers in the medical field will be able to find a cure, so others will be able to hold onto the memories of their lives and all their loved ones.

So dad if mom could remember her most recent words, I'm sure she would say again, "my man I loved him so".