Friday, October 4, 2013

IF ONLY FOR A MOMENT


IF ONLY FOR A MOMENT


Since my mom moved into a nursing facility her life and mine has definitely changed. She is unable to express what she is feeling, yet I'm sure that she is wondering what is happening to her. She knows her surroundings are different and since she is still aware, I can only imagine the fear that she must  be experiencing. If there could be any good part to this horrific disease it is that whatever unhappy thoughts she has, disappear as quickly as they come.

I too have had to make some adjustments given mom's new living situation. My daily morning phone calls to her that meant the world to me, now exist in a different way. Each day at different hours I place my calls to the nursing home . I phone late in the morning hoping to catch mom between an activity or her lunch time. On other days I call after her dinner trying again, to be able to reach her. Sometimes I get lucky, and at other times I am told that she is resting in bed.

The other day she sounded so cute as she was excited to hear I was on the phone. Right after she said hello she immediately said that she would call me back, and just hung up on me. Another day, I had a magical conversation with her. We spoke as if everything was like it use to be. With tears in my eyes I shared that she was breaking my heart. Mom questioned why, and said that she did not want to  break my heart. The call was so tender and left me feeling so warm almost like I was on cloud nine.

When I get to share these sentimental phone calls with her I truly cherish them, and am grateful that they still do exist.  On the days that I am not able to speak to her I have been able to feel connected. Just hearing from her nurse how her day was, has fulfilled me in a different way.

Staying away from visions of seeing mom in a the nursing home setting, wearing diapers ,strapped into a  walker or being pushed in a wheelchair is so important for me. When my mind travels down this path I quickly wash away these upsetting images.

I find myself grasping to this memory from a few years ago. On many occasions I would ask mom if she could wish for anything what would it be. She always answered "for my children to be happy and healthy." So as each day comes and goes, if only for a moment, I choose to reflect on her life as a whole person. A woman who has loved me, raised me and inspired me.



My Mom My Hero book is for all the special people in our lives.

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12 comments:

  1. You encouraged me today to remember my Mom the way she was and not the way she is now. I get so sad when I focus on her present situation. Thank you for reminding me that I have tons of memories of my Mom when she loved me, raised me, and inspired me.

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    1. Marjorie, please always try to hold onto the memories of your mom when she was not ill. That was your mom, not now . xoxo Lisa

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  2. We've been dealing with this disease for 7 years now, or at least that's the number of years we haven't been in denial about it. Looking back I think my Dad was starting this long journey a couple of years before that. However, as we all know, the beginning stages can seem like a series of "senior moments" we can find ways to explain away.

    My Dad was one of the most intelligent people I ever knew, and now he has no idea where he is or what's going on around him. I used to be sad and angry about it, but realized it does no good. I'm no good to him or my mother if I make this all about me and my feelings. I'm fortunate to have a supportive husband, and a teenage son who is wise beyond his years, (he's also fantastic with his grandfather). They keep me grounded. I also have a mother who is fabulous and fortunately 100% still here. We've had our "pity parties" and sat and cried together for what we've lost, but now that Dad is further along the road we've made the decision that all we can do is make him comfortable and help make his exit as easy as possible for him.

    He was in an assisted living environment for 2 years, and recently moved to a facility that offers more one-on-one care. Physically he's doing OK, still able to walk and feed himself, but he doesn't sleep well and doesn't do well with too much activity and stimulation. Moving him into a quieter community was the best thing we ever did. He's calmer and happier now.

    As the only daughter I tend to be a little bossy, and for the longest time I tried to get Dad to be the way he used to be. A few years ago I realized that that was an exercise in futility. Dad doesn't live in my world anymore, so when I visit I travel to his. It doesn't make a lot of sense, but he seems happy there, and our visits are so much better for both of us when I just let him be.

    This disease is an awful experience but has taught me and my family some very important lessons. Our love for our Dad has been stripped down to it's essence, there's no joking around, sharing memories and having long conversations. Now, it's just about being there. My son is nearly 16 and sometimes when he's in the midst of being a teenager I try to take some time to just "be" with him, without trying to make him do something, or getting on his case. It's amazing how healing that is, just being. It's the best thing that's come out of this situation, the knowledge that just being there is enough.

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    1. I love everything and understand all that you have written. The one good thing about this disease is that, I like you believe that my mom is happy. As tough as it is on you ,you are also so lucky to have such a supportive husband and son. This is something else that we have in common. I am thankful that my dad is not alive to witness any of this. I can only imagine what your mom must be going through to have to watch her husband and her best friend disappear into another world. What is a one on one facility? Sounds great. Thanks again for sharing with me/us.I wish your whole family much love and all of you will be in my prayers.

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  3. I, too, understand everything that you have experienced. I took my mom into my home as no one else could and for three years I watched a loving mom lose so much of herself,yet she never forgot who I was to the day she died. It was pulmonary fibrosis that actually took her life, but her memory was basically gone. I asked God to give me the one miracle of knowing who I was although she could not remember or understand what I said to her. She was just entering last stage Alzheimers. To the end, she taught me how to die gracefully although she was a shell of herself. She lived her life for Jesus and He blessed her in the end. I think all of us children who take care of our loved ones with this horrible disease become better people, stronger, and really learn what love in its highest degree is. I am so thankful that I was able to give back and learn to rearrange my priorities in life in order to be more of what God wanted me to be.

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    1. Jeanie, Amen with lots of strong hugs I send to you.

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  4. Hello,
    I am a Certified Activity Director in a Nursing Home. I decided (after working in a facility with dementia residents) that this is what I am meant to do with my life. My grandfather died when I was around 5 or 6 and he was my favorite person in the world. I go to work every day fighting the usual battles with sometimes difficult co-workers and the hordes of paperwork associated with my job. But, when I get the time to spend with the residents instead of my paperwork and meetings, God always gives me the opportunity to share a special moment with someone that reminds me why I do what I do. I love, respect, admire and stand up for them everyday. They are what makes my life have purpose and what inspires me to do the best I can for them. So, I know I don't know exactly how you feel, but I for one can say I truly love them!!!!! My heartfelt prayers go out to all of you and your family. I am walking in the Alzheimer's Walk in Charleston, WV on Saturday to help support research and hopefully one day a cure for this horrible disease.
    Love,
    Marie

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    1. Marie you are such a special human being. If only there were more people in the world like you.I wish you much happiness and love in your life and thank you even more for all that you do. I did my walk this past Sunday(Oct 20th).Have a good walk. Hugs to you, Lisa

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  5. It's always hard to deal with the image of your loved one slowly fading away because of an illness, especially when you see the stark contrast between your best memories of them and how they are now. Whether they're with you at home or at a facility, there's really no easy way to deal with it. But I'm glad that you have your ways to keep your spirits up. It's quite inspiring, if I may say so.

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    1. Demetrius, thank you for your kind words. I certainly have my moments yet I know that I must see the sunshine not the storm. Lisa

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  6. I have only been following your blog for a short time so have not read all of your entries. But I will.
    I just want to thank you for putting into words the thoughts and feelings I have experienced in this journey with my mom. Bless you and your mother.

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    1. Dear Babalax, for every person I reach and touch through my writings means more to me than you can ever imagine. Hugs to you and your mom. Lisa

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