For the last eight years my brother has been watching over our mom in a different way then I can. They live in the same area of Florida ,while I live in her home town of New York. After returning from a recent vacation, I knew that there were some uncomfortable, unsettling decisions that would soon need to be answered about our mom. I had tried to avoid thinking about any of this before my trip to Italy. I was of course, unsuccessful.
We had spoken about some different options before I left. All of them seemed to be that mom would need to go on medicaid and be moved into a nursing home. A decision that left me feeling upset, as my stomach tightened with knots.
Mom had been sounding great since I have returned, and I was well aware that she had two very "good" weeks. "Good", as in no urinary tract infections that alway seem to cause her excruciating back pains and hallucinations. These symptoms never disappear until an antibiotic quicks in. Funny, how I foolishly sound as if I am now a pro, in the world of UTI's and Alzheimer's.
I realize that seeing her in person, will confirm all the simple things she can no longer do. The everyday tasks of brushing her teeth, combing her hair ,or even knowing to change her clothes has no meaning to her. Day is night and night is day. There is no sense of time. Actually, this has been going on for several years, and in some ways she has miraculously been "holding"on.
I am thankful for this and not one day goes by when I take any of this for granted. Yet in between mom's "good" days, I am aware that I hear less laughter and aliveness in her voice.
Does mom have any idea what is going on? Just yesterday, when she was handed the phone from her caregiver, I questioned how she was doing. Her response was both interesting and strange. Mom answered that she was doing okay, yet she went on to explain that for the last several days she was not feeling so well. She described that she rested and is now doing better.
My brother shared with me that she is getting frail and has trouble walking herself to her bathroom. Her caregivers say that this is not necessary so, yet that I should prepare myself for my visit with her. They explained that she is not the same as the last time I saw her.
I told to my brother that I felt that I could not be part of the decisions regarding mom and a nursing home. I found it all to upsetting and that I was willing to relinquish and surrender to whatever he thought was best. Momentarily he responded ,"okay".
As for now this decision, although I feel ill when I think about it, has left me feeling that I will be able to cope in a better way. All of my strengths that I have been so proud of, are now hiding as if I were a frightened young child, as mom continues to drift away.
I only want to brighten her days and not be filled with feelings of guilt. I want to be cheerful with her each day, as I cherish the days that we can still share. I love as we sing some tunes and she makes up the verses of words she no longer knows . I love our spelling games which she still can amazingly do, and I continue to try and hear the sounds of laughter that we once frequently shared.
My mom today know matter what world she lives in fills my heart with deep love . She will always be my hero. Hopefully one day there will be a cure from this devastating disease. A disease that destroys families and removes ones life forever.
My book My Mom My Hero is for the special people in our lives. A story of love and relationships. Available on Amazon & Kindle worldwide.