IS MY NAME LISA ?
As my mom awoke in her home of twenty four years, she exited from her bedroom and saw her caregiver Elaine, sitting in her living room. Mom questioned if she was there to take care of her. Elaine answered that she was, and my mom then stated that she was hungry, and wanted to know if Elaine could make her something to eat. This was a good sign, for some days she is not very hungry.
As they entered her kitchen, she wanted to know where she should sit. In some ways she has become like a young child, yet not totally. When I got to speak to her she wanted to know when I would be visiting, and added in, that she hopes I know that I could stay as long as I want.
These words that came from her lips just melted my heart. "Mom would you like me to come and live with you"? Her answer was, "I don't think that you would really want to do that". "In that case, I have a surprise for you, Gil's coming to see you today". Mom said "that's great so I'll see both of you" . With an upbeat tone she added in that she can hardly wait to see her kids. I knew that I would not be seeing her for another 2 1/2 months yet I said nothing. I could try to explain ,yet whatever I would say would not be understood and long forgotten.
As we continued our conversation she quickly forgot about my brother coming to visit her.
"Mom would you like to spell some words"? As I started our weekly exercise, starting at A and wanting to finish at Z, I asked her to spell England and then Hawaii. She stopped me on both, and said, "I never heard of those words". Mom never heard of England or Hawaii, what was going on? Can Alzheimer's have my mom's world fade to nothing? Yet fortunately there are other words she recognizes enough to spell .
I realized that at this moment there was some confusion. I decided to stop spelling and tell her again, that Gil was coming to visit her ."Oh my husband is coming", my mom replied. "No mom, Gil is your son. "I know he's my son, I just call him my husband". Okay mom I thought to myself, your close but you have this backwards.
Is there any harm if mom thinks that my brother is her husband? I don't think so. He visits weekly, and he is the only male figure left in her life. The important part now, is that she still knows who he is.
The next day when I called, I heard Elaine her caregiver say, "Ruth, your daughter Lisa is on the phone". This morning my mom answered with, "no I'm Lisa". As I heard her sweet voice and I giggled, I said "Mom, I'm Lisa so what's your name"? Mom answered with "you tell me first". We both laughed as I said "okay mom it doesn't matter, we can just call each other sweetheart". I thought to myself how quick and sharp her answer was . Was mom trying to cover up her mistake, or perhaps her not knowing?
Once again it does not really matter. Mom somehow was able to understand her own confusion. So I started to serenade her with the song" let me call you sweetheart, I'm in love with you", as my mom joyfully joined in.
There are parts of conversations that we still can share. She has her good days and off days. I do realize that mom is sliding backwards from Alzheimer's, yet somehow she is still able to hang in there. Her strength, her courage just absolutely amaze me. Several years ago, she became my hero ,and today she still can warm my heart with much joy. She brings a smile to my face, and although parts of her are now lost, I hold on tightly to all that we still can share.