Friday, December 28, 2012



I hope everyone had a holiday filled with much love. For me, I've had my ups and my downs since returning from visiting my mom in the beginning of December. Although it was a good trip, it left me with some heaviness that I was unable to shake off. I remained with a strange feeling for over a week, one that was hard to explain. This feeling finally lifted, and once again I was able to smile at the sweet things my mom had said.

Mom was surprised that my son( her only grandson) was twenty five years old. She also questioned me on the age of my"other" child. I explained to her that I had only one child who is named after her father. She seemed to like that and although it did not flash any memories for her, she reminded me in a lighthearted voice that I was lucky that I had only one child.

I wondered today how many children mom would say she gave birth to. Some days it is two and other days none. Some days she knows my name and some days she questions who I am. One day she thought my name was Elaine, which is her caregivers name, and when I explained that she gave birth to me and also named me, she was as equally surprised.

At least finding out at that moment that I was her daughter, she enthusiastically declared,"oh that's why I  love you so much." Great, mom was finally able to get it ,if only for the moment. Yet each day that I call she is surprised that I am on the telephone, and she only wants to know when I will be coming to visit. Mom always invites me to stay for as long as I want, and at the same moment she declares how she loves when she sees me.

My stories are always different about when I will be arriving. First I would say I just left you, then I'd explain that I needed to get a plane ticket, so I would be coming in 3 months, and now I announce that I will there in a few weeks. With this last answer mom is pleasantly surprised and happy that it will only be a few weeks before I arrive. There is absolutely no harm in stretching the truth to her, as long as it brings joy to her and I can hear the delight in her voice.

On Christmas Day, I mentioned that she would be joining her caregivers family for Christmas, she said ,"Lisa, you should ask if you can come along." Then my wise lady said "it does not hurt to ask, you have nothing to loose either way."

Mom then went into a dialogue about her parents, saying that they were driving her crazy. With enthusiasm, I listened to each word for mom rarely speaks about her parents, and when she has, she is always filled with much love and respect for them. I do not recall her ever describing them this way. She said that they keep wanting her to move near them. With much expression she continues to tell me that since she told them "no", they finally have left her alone. Could mom be reversing her parents and me?

Mom only wanted me to tell her that I like her, not that I love her, because some people could get the wrong idea. Like, love it's all the same mom. Yet this lady not only have I learned to love her in such a deep meaningful way, I also genuinely like her. My mom, my sweetheart lights up my life each day, even when she mixes all these things up.

I'd like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a New Year's filled with love and understanding.

Friday, December 14, 2012



It has been five days since I returned from visiting my mom. Each day that I have spoken to her she has no recollection that I was ever there. That was until today. Mom did not exactly say that she had remembered I was just with her, yet I could tell from what she expressed that she was aware of it. I actually have gotten quite good at understanding what she is trying to say as she mixes up her words and syllables.

While I was with her she would get glimpses of a moment of her life. Then they would quickly disolve and disappear. Today mom wanted to know when I would be coming to visit, as she invited me to come and "sit" down with my husband. I was sure that there now were traces of our reunion together.

Directly after calling me Lisa , she then spoke these words, "what is your name?"  I was sure that she knew that she was speaking to me. I answered with "what is your daughter's name?" She sweetly responded with "Lisa." I then said "my name, is Lisa." "You have the same name as my daughter." Sure do mom I thought ,as I answered," I am your daughter."

She expressed that she could not wait to see me again, and reassured me that she would always make room for me. I gracefully thanked her and shared with her that she was a wonderful hostess. I got a quick giggle from her as we kissed and said our goodbyes.

When I first returned home I was feeling a touch of sadness, even though mom while we were with her was doing considerably well. I guess it's because I know deep in my heart that it will be several long months before I return, and each visit now brings me closer to the reality of her illness.

I cherish our intimate relationship and celebrate that she still knows who I am, yet I question and wonder what her world must be like. When she awakes what may her thoughts be, if any, and is there for her a feeling of security within the walls of her home. What kind of existence does she now have? Is she happy or sad?

Yes she still has moments when words and expressions of cleverness flow from her lips. Mom still holds on to a quick sense of humor, and when she is feeling up to it, loves to be serenaded and appreciates beautiful music.

Entwined in these deeper thoughts, my mind certainly can wander.  My saving grace for me, are my writings of our journey together. They have become my sanctuary as I travel this path with my mother. It's surely not an easy journey, yet I embrace with her and will continue to, for as long as we can. I hold on to our love for however long it may last. As minute as it is, mom fortunately still has some traces and glimpses of what once was. For this I must be grateful.


Sunday, December 9, 2012



Two days ago my husband and I returned from visiting my mother, and each morning when I have spoken to her she has no memory of our visit. As I reflect back on the five days that I spent with her, I can still feel the warmth of her smiles, laughter and joy as we held hands, embraced and told each other how much we loved one another.

Some moments I was her daughter, and other times I was her relative. Mom tried to explain that if she said she was my relative then she was "safe". I understood completely what she was saying and smiled at her cleverness.

When I first arrived in Florida and was on route to see her, I wiped away some tears as I felt at the same moment both excited and fearful. I had recently hung up the phone with her and she questioned me, what was my name. I had a feeling of uncertainty of how mom would be when we reached her.

As I entered her home mom was singing and her first words to me were "oh you came to visit me, I was not sure that you were coming." She repeated my name which seemed like every other second. The sound of hearing her saying my name was like an unchained melody that I just loved to hear. With such a sweet and delightful voice she was thrilled to tell us that "her family" was now with her.

Within the hour mom only wanted to get into her bed for she was feeling sleepy. She invited me to join her, and as I sat in a chair in her bedroom, she would not allow herself to slip into dreamland. Instead, she just wanted me to reassure her that I was still with her. I wonder if she was fearful that if she fell asleep, that when she awoke, I would no longer be with her. All she wanted to do was to keep speaking and have me reassure her that I was still with her. At this moment sleep for her seemed so far away.

Mom was feeling overly warm so I helped her remove her cardigan. With much affection our roles were now switched, as I became the mother, and she became my child. Mom did not know what room she was in, or what other rooms were beyond her doorway. As I described her home of twenty six years, she was confused and at moments asked of me to take her home. At this moment her world seemed to be slipping away. Night became day and day became night.

The following day felt like a miracle. It was truly a golden day. The sentiments that she shared with me from "do you love me like I love you?" and as we embraced she whispered in my ear "you're the best in the world,"which only broke my heart in two. It was moments like these that I just melted and my heart was filled with an eternal love.

A love so strong that all I could do was cry tears of happiness, as I now wondered how many years I wasted on not loving my mom completely. This for me truly was a special and warm enduring day that will forever remain embedded in my heart and soul .

The following day mom couldn't even find the light switch in her bathroom to turn off the light that she only seconds before had turned on. I watched the Alzheimer's come and go, for at some moments she could spell and her mind was quick and filled with a sharpness as she shared her thoughts with us. Then there were the other times that she was mixed up with her vocabulary and thinking, and I knew that it was not my mom speaking, it was the disease.

 What else can I say other than that I find my mom to be so courageous. She is filled with a spirit that Alzheimer's has not yet been able to rob from her. I do at moments wonder what is left of her life. A life that has truly disappeared and  a world that she once lived in that no longer exists. Yet for me, I must celebrate the special part that we can still share.

This part of her world is the one where she still knows me and is able to express all her love for me. It is a world diminshed yet for me a world that I will never forget. I only want to imagine a world one day without Alzheimer's. A world free of this horrific disease.