Wednesday, December 10, 2014

SHARING OUR LOVE


SHARING OUR LOVE


We all have pictures of our families that fill our hearts with joy. Some are taken during special occasions and others are just celebrating being together. As I look at this photo it brings me back to  warm memories of when mom, my son and I were younger, enjoying a beautiful summer day at the lake.

It became a ritual for mom to leave Florida and visit for two weeks each summer. After she became ill the trips became more difficult being away from her own familiar setting.

Who would have imagined that one day mom would never be able to recognize who was in this picture. For her it is not just seeing who we are, it is also "knowing"who we are. Although we are her family she still cannot recognize us. Nor does she have any memories of these visits that she once looked so forward to.

Life certainly can be complicated yet understanding this disease truly amazes me. What makes Alzheimer's so powerful is that week by week it has crept into my mother's brain and removed what was once her life. It has stolen almost all of her memories leaving her with an empty existence.

I have accepted mom's fate and am grateful that most days I am able to appreciate what we still have left. In three weeks I will be visiting and spending one precious month with her. My heart is filled with mixed emotions; excited and nervous all at the very same time.

The clock is ticking and I have no idea how much longer mom will be able to recognize or even speak to me. As of now she is still mobile, yet she is totally dependent on her aides for everything else.

After ten long years of witnessing mom loose her independence, I also know that she certainly is one of the lucky ones. Her younger brother passed away rather quickly from this disease, so out of this I do not take anything for granted.

This trip is so meaningful for it may be my last time to spend some quality time with her before she totally fades away. Each moment, no matter how difficult some may be, I want to cherish whatever smiles, touches and kisses that I can get from her, and to return all the love I feel for her.

Hopefully with each of us spreading awareness about this disease, maybe one day, we will be able to celebrate living in a world free of Alzheimer's.



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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

GRATEFUL & THANKFUL


 

GRATEFUL & THANKFUL

Once again the holiday season is arriving and each year, especially during Thanksgiving, I like to reflect on the year as it comes to an end.

This year was an extremely joyous one for our son Logan became engaged to a very special young lady. My husband and I are doing wonderful and my brother and I continue to grow closer.  Mom turned 90 years old in August and is still able to speak and run around in her Merry Walker.

I posted two pictures (above) for as I reflect I realize how fortunate I was to have two loving and supportive parents. Although my dad passed away 20 years ago I know that I was lucky to have him for so many years.

Mom seems to be happy although most of her life's journey has all but disappeared. Alzheimer's has certainly robbed her of all memories, yet in a positive way it has also removed the negative ones that once caused her pain and heartache.

I'm thankful that my dad is not alive to be experiencing what is happening to her. I am grateful that she is still verbal as she shares words of love accompanied with a smiling face for the nurses; at the place we now call "home".

Her speech is more gibberish yet she still laughs and, at moments, surprises us with a sharp quick answer. Alzheimer's baffles me for somehow in her memory she still can spell and is able to sing the words to many songs.

I do not know how much longer mom will be able to sustain all that she now can do, certainly since she has this disease for over 10 years. So, with each day I remain grateful and thankful that however mom now is, we are still able to share our love with one another.





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Thursday, November 6, 2014

CONFESSIONS...15 MINUTES OF FEAR




CONFESSIONS....15 MINUTES OF FEAR



Could it be? Can I have the start of Alzheimer's? It is more likely that I can get it since it has stricken two of my family members (mom & her brother). My odds are greater than someone else whose family has never suffered from it.  It is hereditary although that does not mean that I will get the disease.

The thought occasionally crosses my mind when I cannot remember some movie that I saw, or a famous actor's name.  I try and concentrate till I recall the names and then I feel a sense of relief.

I do not walk around worrying about getting Alzheimer's, yet I am quicker to make a joke about it to excuse my momentarily lapse of memory. I have decided not to be tested to see if I have any Amyloid plaque buildup in my brain. I am really not that brave!

So, I must confess that today for about 15 minutes I could feel the anxiety, and panicked as I searched all over my apartment for a prescription that my drugstore said they had filled 15 days ago. Could I have been so forgetful that I had no recollection of this?

I called my husband to explain the situation and to hopefully calm me down. "The drugstore said they were sure that they delivered the drug to me on October 16th and here it is October 30th. If this is true wouldn't I have at least 15 pills left? Where could they be?"

I do have a great system, after I take a pill each morning I turn the bottle sideways in my medicine cabinet so I am sure that I took it. If this was the case I would be taking 2 pills a day for the last 2 weeks since no pills remained.

After my panic attack subsided and I was once again able to think clearly I called the drugstore back and with security said " I searched my home all over and do not have the pills." The pharmacist then said that I was correct, since they checked their records and it was never signed out or delivered to me.

As I took a deep long breath and cleared my head, my anxiousness subsided and I was able to feel "relief" that for "now" I was safe and free of this disease.




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Thursday, October 23, 2014

HOW IS YOUR MOM DOING?


HOW IS YOUR MOM DOING ?

This is mom 24 years ago. A lot has changed since then. My dad is deceased for 20 years and my son Logan is now 26 years old. Mom lives in a nursing home and we recently celebrated her 90th birthday. Except for Alzheimer's and macular degeneration she takes no medication and is in perfect health.

My family has lots to celebrate and be thankful for. There is one question that I frequently am asked which is "how is your mom doing?" I often answer,"my mom is doing good considering that she has Alzheimer's for the last ten years."

Several weeks ago I stopped to really think about how I just answered this question. My thoughts traveled to thinking about mom, a lady who has no idea about where she is living, or what she just ate.

She does not know that she should get dressed each day,and better yet. she does not have to wonder about what to wear.

She's doing good even if she is not aware of what day it is, the month, nor the year. She has no idea what  has transpired in the world. She has no fear of Ebola or terrorism.

She does not understand that her only grandchild has become engaged. In fact she does not really remember that she has a grandchild.

She no longer needs to think about what friend she might like to spend the day with, or what movie she would like to go see.  She no longer has to make any decisions on whether she'd like to take a walk in the park, stroll on the beach, or go to her favorite museum.

She does not remember that she was married for 50 years to my father, nor does not remember giving birth to her two children or, at moments, even that she has any.

Yes mom is doing good and she never has to decide on where she'd like to go on vacation or what country she'd like to travel to.  Life for her has certainly become "carefree".

So my answer to this question "how is your mom doing?" It will remain the same, for considering what is left in mom's world at least I can believe that she is happy. Happy for she is not aware of a world that exists outside of the four walls that she now resides in.

Mom has no understanding of how her life has been wiped away by such a horrible disease. So how is my mom doing? She'd doing good, and how am I doing? I'm also doing good, which is a conscious choice that I have made.

I can be happy or I can be sad. I choose to be happy. Happy that mom is not aware of what is happening to her.


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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Special Interview I'd Like to Share With You



This is a special 20 minute interview that I would like to share with you. It will also have you meet me(sort of in person). You have in some ways all become my family as I share my journey with you about my mom and our relationship.

Here is the link. Hope you enjoy it !

http://youtu.be/aTIP5NmOUog

Hugs to all,
Lisa

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

WHERE IS MY LITTLE GIRL ?



WHERE IS MY LITTLE GIRL?


One of mom's nurse's mentioned that when mom is lucid she will ask where I am and say that her daughter Lisa does not come to see her. She also says this of my brother (which makes me feel less guilty). Even if I had just visited mom she would not remember and would be repeating the same thing.

While I was speaking to the nurse mom happened to stroll by in her Merry Walker. The nurse put me on speaker phone so I was able to hear the conversation . "Ruthie how are you doing today?" Mom answered quickly that she was" good." "Would you like to speak to your daughter Lisa, who is now on the phone?" She answered "no not really I'm too sleepy," as she continued on her way.

The conversation made me giggle, yet it could not stop me from wondering, was mom really not wanting to speak to me or was she too tired? Did she really even understand that I was on the phone? Does she even know what a telephone is? She answered as if she understood, so why would she not want to speak to me? Luckily I did not feel slighted.

As Alzheimer's progresses mom's conversations have mostly disappeared. She can still speak and has moments where she is so sharp with her responses. Yet she is not able to concentrate enough to keep any conversation going because she cannot remember what someone just said.

I believe that there are moments when she is aware and wondering about everything, from where she is living to what is happening to her. Unfortunately her thoughts disappear so quickly that we can never know what she is thinking.

I miss mom terribly although I do get to watch her on videos that my brother recorded when I visited her. They have become so dear to my heart for they are the closest I have to being with her, even if my mom at moments is wondering where her little girl is .



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Thursday, October 2, 2014

A WORLD FREE OF ALZHEIMER'S



A WORLD FREE OF ALZHEIMER'S


I cannot imagine what it must be like to lose all of my life's memories and to no longer recognize my loved ones. How could I ever not remember my husband, giving birth to our son, his first day of school, my senior prom and all the other things that I have treasured in the world?

This is the very way that Alzheimer's invades ones soul. My family has been affected by this awful disease for quite a few years. My mom has it for ten years and her younger brother lost his life after three years of suffering from it. I often wonder why some family
members get Alzheimer's and others are spared?

For the last several months it has become more difficult being a long distance caregiver. A feeling of loss gradually started when I was no longer able to speak to mom on the phone each day. After she was moved into the nursing home she seemed more and more agitated and confused to be on the telephone. I decided that it was better not to disturb her and no longer asked the nurses to get her.

My brother had not been able to see mom for almost four weeks now. First he was ill and in the hospital, and then he left Florida for a two week planned vacation. I was not at all upset with him, I just felt troubled knowing that this was the situation. Who was now watching over our mother?

When I became aware of this I immediately phoned the head of nursing to ask her to please give mom an extra hug from me and to look after her. She replied that mom was doing really well, gained 2lbs. and that as usual she was busy running around in her Merry Walker.

Mom no longer realizes if the sun is shining or if the sky is dark and filled with clouds. She does not know if today is her birthday, or better yet mine. I know that my mom had no idea that she did not have any family visiting, yet I knew and I could not help feeling saddened because of it.

I sometimes feel as if mom is just locked away, locked away from life and from the world, as she lives somewhere inside her "own" private universe. Yes, mom is still alive it's just different now for all of us and I also must adjust as her disease progresses.

It's funny because my brother returned home yesterday and I awoke this morning realizing that last night I had a dream about her; Mom still had the disease yet she seemed content as she was surrounded by some friends. I cannot recall my dream specifically, yet I was left with a "magical" warm feeling. It was the first time in quite a while that I felt mom was safe again.

My next visit is not for twelve weeks yet this is a very special trip for I will be going to spend an entire month with her. It excites and frightens me all at the very same time.

As for now I just want to try and imagine a world one day free of this disease. Today this may be just a dream, yet one day a true reality. How wonderful it would be if all of our children and their children can live in a world free of Alzheimer's.





MY MOM MY HERO. Follow our journey through the eyes of love. With over 175 Great Reviews. Available as EBook, Audio Book & Paperback.
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Thursday, September 11, 2014

MOM I WISH YOU COULD HEAR ME


MOM I WISH YOU COULD HEAR ME


Logan is now twenty six years old and is my mom's only grandchild. She adored him and I know deep down in the mist of "her world" that she still does. Yet today because of Alzheimer's I am unable to share with her the joy I am feeling.

On Sunday my son got engaged to a fabulous lady who mom would have loved. What a magical moment in all of our lives, one that I so badly wanted to share with her. I know in my heart how thrilled she would have been.

 As I picked up the phone to call the nursing home I knew even if I could get mom to listen that she would not be able to comprehend what I was saying to her. What I found even more upsetting was that she would not be able to remember. One of my favorite nurses answered and I was able to share my feelings with her. I had her promise me that she would tell mom, and as I hung up I was secure that my message would be delivered.

As I walked down the streets of Manhattan I started to cry. These were not tears of joy. They were tears of how much I missed mom and how I wished that she could truly hear me. For a few moments I was sad that I could not share this with her. I felt sickened by this disease and thought of how my mother was half alive. I longed for the part of her that once was here.

It's funny because every time that I have shared this with those who are dear to me, tears still flowed down my face. I think my husband expressed what I was feeling. He said that although my mom is still alive, because of her illness in many ways she is no longer here.

 I know that I am still fortunate that there are parts of her that exist and this is so much better than the alternative. I can still squeeze her hand and I can still hear her as she whispers in my ear that she loves me.

In January my son and future daughter-in-law will be visiting her. I look forward to seeing, if only for a moment, mom's excitement. It does not really matter how much mom can understand, as long as we can all celebrate, once again, this wonderful occasion.


MY MOM MY HERO. With over 175 Great Reviews.
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Thursday, September 4, 2014

LOVE DOES MATTER


 
LOVE DOES MATTER

My mom has opened my heart to a world filled with love & compassion. After she became ill she  blossomed into this beautiful flower with a breath of fresh air.

Although I can no longer speak to my mom every day, I awake each morning thinking of her smile and how she maneuvers around the nursing home sharing words of love.

She has become like a Buddha as she spreads joy to the aides, nurses and some of the other residents who also have Alzheimer's.

As upsetting as this disease can be it also fascinates me. I have watched as it has crept into my mother's life, removing what once existed in her universe.  Now I watch as she retreats into a "new"world.

I cannot help but wonder how Alzheimer's destroys some cells quicker than others, and why some people have it for years, while others succumb to it so quickly?

What magical quality does the sound of music have to those who have this disease? I have witnessed as they come to life when they hear the melodies . I have watched when my mother interacts with those who no longer speak and I see how they look at her as they utter several words.

 What makes some of their memories come to the surface while others disappear? Why does my mom think her home is with her parents? Does she go back to a time and place when she felt safe and secure? Does the world she now lives in frighten her, only wanting to return to her childhood home?

Do we think that in some ways our loved ones no longer exist and that they cannot hear our voices? Do we stop trying to communicate to them? For me I do believe that they do not disappear. I believe that even when we may think so that they are still listening.

With all of this being said, then how can we deal with our loved ones who now suffer from Alzheimer's? Can we, as caregivers, understand that maybe all they want is to be loved?

This is what people with Alzheimer's have demonstrated to me. They are no different than all of us for they have taught me about the power of love. They, as well as my mom, have shown me that love is all that matters.


MY MOM MY HERO is for all the special people in your lives. Over 150 great reviews.

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Tuesday, September 2, 2014

MOM & MARGARET

 MOM & MARGARET

My brother and his wife while visiting my mother found her speaking to her "friend." They were able to capture this special moment which truly shows us how two people with Alzheimer's can connect. We as a family did not feel that my mother anymore was capable of this.

This is a touching video that shows us the intimacy two "friends" can have. While they held hands, my mother shared with Margaret how her daughter(me)did not come to visit her. From what I have just witnessed I am able to understand a little better.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EnieGv2Mxi4&feature=youtu.be


 
MY MOM MY HERO is for all the special people in your lives. Over 150 great reviews.

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Friday, August 22, 2014

SHE'LL ALWAYS BE MY MOTHER




SHE'LL ALWAYS BE MY MOTHER

How can I find the words to express all the feelings bottled up in me since returning from spending four "precious" days with my mother? This was a special trip in which we celebrated her 90th Birthday.

The first two days mom was exuberant as she shared many different stories with us, some that made sense and others that did not. It didn't really matter what she said for it was a miracle that she was feeling so alive. Her smiles and laughter melted my heart. She was energetic and it reminded me of how she was before Alzheimer's crept into her life.

On day three she seemed more interested in running around in her Merry Walker than speaking to us, and, on day four, she expressed how tired she was, sounding more like a lost child, as she questioned every second what she should be doing.

Fortunately I was able to enjoy every moment with her and did reflect on my trip after I returned home. After sharing this with my husband I realized how much my heart ached for her and how much I already missed seeing her.

It will be four "long" months till I return to Florida. It's been difficult living so far away and having such limited time to share with her. This time in January I will be staying a whole month so I can spend more quality time with my mom.

Mom said some special things that I hope never to forget. The one I want to always remember was when we were walking down the hall together and she said that she "will always be my mother".

I know that she is my mother yet I still cannot help feeling how I want to take her in my arms and protect her from everything in her life that could possibly hurt her. I want to hold her, cuddle her, and kiss her as I tell her that everything will be alright.

Friends and family always ask me if my mom still knows me. I want to think so yet at other times I may not be sure. Today, I believe she knows she is my mother and that I am her daughter. It's a bond that can never be broken no matter how much Alzheimer's may steal from her.



MY MOM MY HERO is for all the special people in your lives. Over 150 great reviews.

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Friday, August 8, 2014

ALMOST 90 YEARS "YOUNG"



ALMOST 90 YEARS "YOUNG"

This photo was taken last year in August after mom entered the nursing home. She certainly looks happy and content in her new surroundings. Mom never wanted to leave her home, yet last year my brother and I decided that it was best for her. Fortunately, she had no idea where she was going or how she even got there. If there can be anything comforting about Alzheimer's it is that whatever upsetting feelings or thoughts that fill her mind disappear as quickly as they surface. It seems that they are washed away being forever lost at sea

In one week I will be visiting mom to celebrate her 90th Birthday. As the time approaches I start to feel excited and nervous. The combination of mixed emotions, whenever I go to visit her, has been happening for quite a few years.

Being a long distance caregiver I never know what to expect even though I speak to the nurses each day. My brother sends me pictures as well as keeping me abreast to his weekly visits. Since I do not see her as often I immediately witness the changes that Alzheimer's has had on her. I can see how much the disease has progressed.

I know that I must keep my upsetting feelings suppressed so that I may enjoy the time that I get to spend with her. I do not know how many more birthdays that I will be able to celebrate with mom, yet I know that each one of them is so very special. Turning 90 is no "spring chicken," although many people are living longer.

Each day that mom can still laugh, speak and smile is a day I cherish. Life is so precious and it is a treasure that she can still say my name. My love for her is so strong and to be able to celebrate her 90th birthday is a moment I will always remember. So, in less than a week, my sentimental voyage to mom will begin.

MY MOM MY HERO is for dedicated to all of our mom's. Over 150+ great reviews. Available as a Paperback, E book and Audio.

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Thursday, July 24, 2014

RUTHIE MY SWEETIE


RUTHIE MY SWEETIE


Most of the time mom seems to be so happy, strolling the halls of the nursing home stopping at every one's door to say hello. With a smile on her face she whispers that she "loves" them. 

The nurse have share with me that she stops to speak to some of the other patients who sit alone in their wheel chairs as they wait to be brought to an activity or the dining hall. I've been told that even those who no longer speak, at moments utter words to mom as she approaches them. She runs around in her Merry Walker nonstop, with so much energy, in search of something, or perhaps just being the "welcoming committee".

I've been told that everyone loves mom including the aides. She makes them laugh and smile. I personally witnessed this when I visited as they stopped to give her a big hello. Before mom became ill she was always friendly and stopped to speak to everyone she knew.

Now she is one of the few at the nursing home (on the Alzheimer floor) that still speaks and has mobility. She seems to attract much attention with her joyous disposition. Ruthie is turning 90 years old on August 24th, and is not on any medication; except for having Alzheimer's and macular degeneration, she perhaps, is healthier than most of us.

During the summer there are students at the nursing home who love to spend time with her. We are so fortunate that her personality is delightful and that this disease has not made her aggressive or agitated like so many others.

Who knows Ruthie one day might be elected the "mayor" of her facility or perhaps win the "most liked award". For me my mom, Ruthie, certainly is my sweetie.


MY MOM MY HERO is for all the special people in your lives. Over 100 great reviews.

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Thursday, July 17, 2014

MOM, ROCHELLE & ME



MOM, ROCHELLE & ME

I was so touched on my Birthday that I wish to dedicate this post to my(almost) sister-in-law Rochelle.

My birthday started off with waking up in the middle of the night from terrible cramps in both legs. This landed me in the emergency room after falling and banging my head. I received five stitches right above my eyebrow. All I could think about was getting out of the hospital and going upstate for a two hour boat ride on the Hudson and dining on the river. I certainly wasn't going to let this accident ruin my day.

I remember thinking about my mom and how she recently fell in the nursing home.She also had a bad cut (no stitches needed) right above her eye. Mom, because of Alzheimer's, could not understand what happened and kept trying to pull off her bandage. The hospice division assigned a 24 hour nurse for several days to make sure that mom was sturdy on her feet and would not fall again. I was pretty impressed with the care she was receiving.

I understood what happened with my accident and I thought about how mom could not recall anything about hers. The way she fell and how she hurt herself remains a mystery to all of us. Was she pushed, did she trip, or perhaps loose her balance? I was just happy that she did not lose her eye.

From the very first time that I met Rochelle almost 4 years ago, I was moved with how kind and understanding she was to my mother. Her own mother and grandmother had Alzheimer's so she understood what mom was going through. The sensitivity and caring that she showed mom came from deep within her. Ro's kindness deeply touched my heart.

On my birthday I received a message early in the morning from Ro saying that she was going to visit my mother today and would call me from the nursing home. She wanted me to be able to speak to mom on my birthday.

I thought that this was so sweet. When she phoned my mom was able to sing Happy Birthday to me, three different times. Each time she said my name she added in "sweet Lisa." Mom at the end of the song shared how much she loved me. It was truly a miracle.

My heart was filled with such joy as I melted from her words. As our day came to an end my  husband shared with me what a "trooper" I was. What started out as a fiasco ended up being such a special, special day. Not only was I able to speak to my mom, I was also able to hear her express her love. This turned out to be a Birthday which I will never be able to forget.

 P.S.Thank you Ro for being who you are.



Thursday, July 10, 2014

MY BIRTHDAY MOM CANNOT REMEMBER


MY BIRTHDAY MOM CANNOT REMEMBER


My mom gave birth to me. She raised me. She taught me right from wrong. Yet she has no idea when I was born. On good days I think she knows that I am her daughter and knows my name, and on other days she is not sure who I am. Then there are the moments that she thinks she has seven children.

After almost ten years I still find it hard to believe that Alzheimer's can rob my mother of her whole life. You would think that by now I would be able to understand this disease and how it removes one's world as if it never existed.

In my wildest imagination I cannot believe that if I were to become one of the unlucky ones,there could be a day that I, too, could no longer know my husband and son. This thought sends shock waves and chills through my entire body.

Quickly,I must remove myself from such a sad depressing thought. Today, I am free of this disease and, as I celebrate on July 12th my birthday, I will enjoy all the beautiful things that exist in my life. I will hold onto all the images that I adore and appreciate the warmth of the sun on my face. I will look at all the beauty that surrounds me and enjoy each and every day.

I cannot thank my parents enough for bringing me into this world and for all the love that they gave me. I  know that if mom could find the words she would surely wish me a Happy Birthday and share with me how very much she loves me. If only she could remember.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

I LOVE HER SMILE


I LOVE HER SMILE


Mom's smile surely melts my heart. This picture was taken several years ago. Alzheimer's had already taken over, yet when I look at this, she seems to be so healthy, free of any disease.

It is getting much harder to speak to her. I wonder if she misses the sound of my voice. Why should I be the only one missing her presence? She of course is my mother and mom's are suppose to always care and worry about their children.

That's the way it should be yet when one has dementia this is not how their universe works. Mom is carefree without a worry in the world. She doesn't need to know if it's sunny, raining, cold or warm. She does not have to think about what to wear, nor what she'd like to eat. She does not need to plan what friend she would like to see or what movie she'd like to go to.

In her world she is surrounded with no worries, no delights, no sadness, and no joy. What a sad place to exist in. I wonder why she spends almost every wakening hour walking the halls of her nursing home in her Merry Walker. What can she possibly be looking for? What could she be thinking?

Perhaps she's looking for a way to escape, not just her surroundings, but also her world. I decided to present the same question to all the different nurses. "Why do you think my mother roams the halls all day long?" Their answers were all different, yet some of the staff thought the same.

" Compulsive behavior. She must have been like that before."

" Likes to talk to people. Looking for people to be with."

" She's very friendly. She's happy walking around and must like it."

" She has lots of energy. Her mind tells her she has to go."

" Anxiety, nervousness. Releasing tension."

" Maybe she feels good. She's in control of something almost like driving a car. Sense of independence."

"She must have liked walking and in her brain it has kicked back in."

With all moms' roaming, I hear that she still mentions she has to go home. To her, home is with her mother claiming that her mom is worried and looking for her. Back in August when she first entered the nursing home this was the theme she kept repeating.

I guess I'll never understand why she does what she does. I'm not complaining for mom is getting a lot of exercise which is important. I only wish that I could understand why she roams around all day.

If I asked her I'm sure that she'd reassure me that she's happy and doing just fine. My mom would never want me to worry; she would only want the best for me.

Nothing would delight her more than to always see a smile on my face and joy in my heart. Whenever I see her smile, I feel such warmth and I seem to glow from deep within my soul.







 

Thursday, June 19, 2014

                                ALZHEIMER'S THE LONGEST DAY- JUNE 21
                          
 
                             
 
   ALZHEIMER'S THE LONGEST DAY-June 21 to honor the strength, passion and endurance of those facing Alzheimer's . I Honor my Mother and all of your Mothers.
                                                   MY MOM MY HERO
 

Friday, June 6, 2014

A LONG, LONG WAY FROM HOME


A LONG, LONG WAY FROM HOME

I just love her smile, laughter and the spirit that resonates throughout her. One second she can light up my life while the next moment I can feel a deep sadness within my soul for her. Living far apart does not make it any easier.

When mom first became ill and for several years thereafter, I kept inviting her to move back to her home town, New York. Her answer was always the same. "I'm never moving back, for I love my home".

I knew that it was impossible to relocate to Florida, and since my brother lived nearby, I accepted and respected her wishes. I often wondered why she would not want to be near me, nor her favorite one and only grandson. New York was where she was born and raised, a place she had lived with my father till they moved in 1985.

The distance that now lies between us is something that bothers me very much. I only get to see her every few months for a couple of days and, after I leave, she no longer knows that I was even there. I'm always left with different feelings about how she is doing. I question her mere existence of what I describe as "nothingness".

My next scheduled trip is in mid August, when I will be celebrating mom's 90th Birthday. I'm thrilled for I have decided to make her a party at the nursing facility. A surprise one at that! Yes, she'll enjoy the cake and songs, although I wonder who this celebration really is for. Her or me?.

The other morning I received a phone call from hospice who shared with excitement how well mom was doing, and that they would be removing her from their care. I replied with "oh that's good news," although that was not exactly how I was feeling.

If mom had a chance of recovery, I would be jumping for joy, yet understanding this disease, I really cannot feel too delighted.

I wish that mom and I could be living closer. Then I would be able to spend whatever precious time I have left with her. I just know that she is a long, long way from home. A distance that is much too far away for me.

My love for her is so deep that I wish she could live another ninety years!


Available on Amazon & Kindle worldwide.

http://www.amazon.com/Mom-Hero-Alzheimers-A-daughters-bittersweet/dp/0615773982/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1389797650&sr=8-1&keywords=lisa+hirsch



Wednesday, May 28, 2014

WITH EVERY BREATH I TAKE



WITH EVERY BREATH I TAKE

If my mother could really understand, she would be so proud of her children, not that she wasn't before her illness. It's just different now. My brother and I have become closer than we ever were before. Mom's disease has bonded us with a deeper sense of love, and for me I have gained a different respect for my brother.

She is the reason for everything. She is my shining star. Mom has stirred up so many emotions, all filled with love. She has opened my eyes and world to many things that I might never have thought were possible. Without her, I never would have started writing this blog.

Yet, I am not capable to do the same for her. I miss and yearn to hear the sound of her voice, her words, her thoughts and her opinions. How I wish that she could share her feelings with me. I wonder what might still exist in her universe.

Over this holiday weekend my husband and I took a ride to the country. I cherished seeing the brilliance of blue skies and the trees as their bright lush leaves glistened in the sunshine. There was a warm breeze that felt divine as my hair swirled in circles. I was feeling alive as I embraced all the natural beauty that surrounded me.

I then thought of my mother, how she can no longer appreciate any of this. Because of Alzheimer's her eyes can no longer recognize the glorious blue skies, nor the lush trees. I started thinking that her world has been robbed from her. It is no longer just her memory, but the simple beautiful things in life that no longer exist for her. I drifted into thinking, what sort of existence is this?

I know that ones life can end in a split second. With Alzheimer's it has been ten years that we keep watching her disappear into her world; a world that is certainly unknown.

I know that my mother is still alive yet I question, "is she"? With every breath I take I pray that  a cure will be found for this horrific disease. A disease that not only robs you from seeing the world through rose colored glasses, but destroys a life that was once worth living.


 
MY MOM MY HERO is for all the special people in your lives. Over 150 great reviews.

Available on Amazon & Kindle worldwide.

http://www.amazon.com/Mom-Hero-Alzheimers-A-daughters-bittersweet/dp/0615773982/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1389797650&sr=8-1&keywords=lisa+hirsch

 

Thursday, May 15, 2014

SENTIMENTAL FEELINGS


SENTIMENTAL FEELINGS

As I sat down to write my blog post I started thinking about this past Sunday, when it was Mother's Day. Mine was a special one, since I was able to celebrate and be with my son.

Of course I missed seeing my mom and called the nursing home several times trying to wish her a Happy Mother's Day.  I was unable to reach her, yet I did speak to the nurse and asked her to please send mom my love and kisses. In truth it did not really matter for mom would not understand what I was speaking about.

The distance between us keeps us apart, although I think that I was missing more the pieces of mom that are no longer present. I missed the laughter and conversations that we once shared. I missed being able to call her and describe what was happening in my life.

I wanted to get away from feeling unhappy, so I decided to choose a picture for my blog that would bring me some joy.  I picked a picture of my mother and father from the mid eighties. Logan, my son was around three years old, and mom and dad in their early sixties. These were very happy times, ones that I love to recall and reminisce about.

Today mom's journey is so different. She is slipping away more each day, and dad passed away over nineteen years ago. Life seems to go round in circles, the young grow up, we become older, as life continues to moves on. 

I choose to focus on the brighter days, ones that were filled with a love so pure and strong. I hope that the memories I have of my parents will remain with me. I want to cherish whatever life I have left, and to feel as much happiness that each day can bring.

Today is a gift for no one knows what tomorrow holds. So let's try to celebrate our lives and not hold on to the things that are troubling us.

I wish that I could take away mom's Alzheimer's and bring her back to whole, yet I cannot. Having the strength to be thankful for what we have, is certainly a gift that I want to treasure.


 
MY MOM MY HERO is for all the special people in your lives. Over 150 great reviews.

Available on Amazon & Kindle worldwide.

http://www.amazon.com/Mom-Hero-Alzheimers-A-daughters-bittersweet/dp/0615773982/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1389797650&sr=8-1&keywords=lisa+hirsch

Thursday, May 1, 2014

WHAT IS A MOTHER?



WHAT IS A MOTHER?


If we asked the question what is a mother, there would be quite a few different answers, though most would be filled with love.

 I have found some that I would like to share:
"A mother is someone who loves unconditionally and places the needs of her children above her own, on a personal level, and not only with words, but also actions."

"A mother is someone who loves you and who cares for you in every way. She sits down and listens to what you have to say."

"A mother is the one who loves, nurtures, raises, finds puzzle pieces, helps with homework, kisses booboos, and reads bedtime stories".

"Choosing to adopt is sometimes an agonizing decision, but such a great one. Providing a child with love and a home, what could be better? Mother can be a birth mom, technically. To be a mommy, that is the real privilege."

"Mother is the woman who raises you, who is there for you to hold and comfort you when you are sick or hurt, the woman who laughs with you, who cries with you, who loves you, even when you aren't exactly lovable, for whatever reason. This is a"real"mother."

"There are many descriptions of the word mother, and many are applicable. Only those with "closed eyes" can't see that there are many meanings to "mother." A person who gives birth is a mother. A person who raises a child is mother. A person who loves and cares for a child is a mother."

"Being a mother is the hardest job in the world!"

Each one of us who has a mother with Alzheimer's, or has lost a mother to Alzheimer's, or any other illness, know that they will always be our mother. The love they feel in their hearts for us, whether they can express it or not, will always remain.

As my mom drifts further and further away and our roles have reversed, it is a privilege for me to love, cherish and care for her as she had done for me. I myself am a mother, I know so well that being a mother is one of the hardest and most rewarding jobs in the world!

Please take a moment and reflect ,with a smile on your face and joy in your heart, of how lucky we are to have had our mothers. This disease might have stolen them from us, yet not all the love that they have showed us.

Although my mom most likely has no idea what Mother's Day means, I want to share with her all the love I have in my heart for her, today and forever. For all the other mothers I wish you all a very Happy Mother's Day.


MY MOM MY HERO book is dedicated to my mother and yours.  Over 150 great reviews.

Available on Amazon & Kindle worldwide.

http://www.amazon.com/Mom-Hero-Alzheimers-A-daughters-bittersweet/dp/0615773982/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1389797650&sr=8-1&keywords=lisa+hirsch

Thursday, April 24, 2014

A DEEP & PURE LOVE



 A DEEP & PURE LOVE


Many moons ago my mom's world was sunny and bright. It was filled with excitement, love and joy. She had no idea that one day her entire life would vanish, as if it never existed. Truth be told, neither did I, for I had never heard of Alzheimer's.

Even into her later years mom yearned to continue learning. Her passion for knowledge was important to her. She loved to read and through reading, and taking college courses, she continued to stimulate herself.

Today because of this dreadful disease almost everything she learned has disappeared. She has been robbed, even more, by having the memory of her entire life swept away as if it never existed.

My brother just returned to Florida after visiting me in New York. As he was here I continued to place my daily calls to the nursing home. With each call I reminded the nurses that my mother would not be having any family visitors for the next two weeks. I was aware of her being all alone that somehow I was trying to protect her. Yet in her world I'm sure she did not even realize this.

 This realization had me wondering about all the other people who live in a nursing home (especially those with Alzheimer's) and have no family or friends to visit them. Perhaps they are "locked away" without any key to free them from this awful world they now live in.  It is a world entwined and disguised as one.

Although the facility that my mom now lives in has no fancy hallways, activity rooms or bedrooms,  the nurses and aides all seem happy. When I think of the kindness and care that my mother is receiving I feel some sense of security and know this is what is most important.

My heart could easily break in two, if I allowed myself to think how my mom just wanders the hallways alone each day. She seems to be mesmerized, lost in her world not knowing where to go and what to do.

I realize I am fortunate that my mom is still alive. The love I feel for her is deep and pure,  a bond that can never be broken. Each day I lose my mother a little more, yet each day I also get to love her some more.


MY MOM MY HERO is for everyone who loves their mother. Over 150 great reviews.

Available on Amazon & Kindle worldwide.

http://www.amazon.com/Mom-Hero-Alzheimers-A-daughters-bittersweet/dp/0615773982/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1389797650&sr=8-1&keywords=lisa+hirsch

Friday, April 4, 2014

EVERLASTING LOVE


EVERLASTING LOVE

I once believed that all mothers and daughters were close. This was not necessarily true for mom and me.  During my teenage years we had moved to a new town. Wanting to feel accepted by the other girls was important to me . As my"new"friends came over to my home, I felt embarrassed  as my mother hung around asking them many questions . My friends though didn't seem to mind, for they kept coming back.

Out of my own insecurities this left me with an uncomfortable feeling towards my mother. I know that we loved one another, just that over time it seemed that our personalities clashed more and more. While living on my own I phoned once a week, just so I wouldn't hear her complain about not  hearing from me. 

For many years we had our share of ups and downs. When my dad passed away, amazingly enough my mom and I got along fabulously. Then without warning our disagreements re-emerged. Yet immediately after mom became ill, there was a major shift  in how I felt toward her. In a strange way I was given a second chance to love her unconditionally.

During these last months since mom entered the nursing home, I found myself filled with many different emotions. I often questioned the quality of her life. This in turn brought up feelings about my own mortality.

As her disease progresses, I have wondered if she really knows who I am. Sometimes I think yes and at other times I am not so sure. Then the other day mom described to my brother's fiancĂ©e that her daughter Lisa lived far away in New York City. Mom at that moment had some clarity.  Alzheimer's disease bewilders me. How can one's whole world disappear, and then reappear only to last for a minute?

Recently I have felt some contentment. I no longer wish that mom would peacefully go to sleep. I recognize that I am blessed, for I know that I can still feel the tenderness of her touch and hear the sweetness of her voice. What I do not know, is how long this will last.

While visiting, I witnessed  mom sharing her kisses with all the nurses. I watched and listened as she told them that she loved them. My family is fortunate that my mother is still filled with love and not frustration and anger like some other's who suffer from this disease.

My mom, who I love so deeply, has opened up my heart in many ways. This everlasting love I feel for her is embedded deep into my soul. Today and always she remains my hero.


MY MOM MY HERO is for all the special people in your lives. Over 150 great reviews.

Available on Amazon & Kindle worldwide.

http://www.amazon.com/Mom-Hero-Alzheimers-A-daughters-bittersweet/dp/0615773982/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1389797650&sr=8-1&keywords=lisa+hirsch

Sunday, March 23, 2014

"POETIC" CLOSURE


"POETIC" CLOSURE

Before I left to see my mother a nurse told her that I was on the telephone. My mom then replied, "I do not have a daughter." The next day when I called mom got on the phone and immediately said "I love you." When I answered that I was coming to see her she said "great". I used to want to believe, and maybe it was so, that my mom knew and understood who I was, as she shared her expressions of love for me. That was then, and as her Alzheimer's gets worse, I do not know if she truly understands that I am her daughter.

It had been over a year since my son Logan visited his grandma. He used to accompany me two times a year while mom still lived at home. On one of his last trips mom asked him how many brothers and sisters he had, and as he exited the room she only wanted to know who that handsome "boy" was.  The fact is that Logan is her one and only grandchild, one whom she so adored.

This trip was a little difficult for both of us. For the first 2 days mom was extremely tired which left her agitated and confused. Fortunately, on Day Three mom had a good day and right before we left fell asleep on Logan's shoulder. This was a touching moment that melted all of our hearts.

 After returning the one question my friends wanted to know was if she still knew who I was. "Maybe, for she did say my name two times in three days," I replied. Perhaps mom recognized my voice or the tenderness of my touches. When I asked her who I was, she said "her mother." I felt complimented that she placed me in this special arena, knowing how much she adored her own mother. Could she have meant her daughter, or as other Alzheimer patients do, did she just mix up her words?

She told me she loved me, yet I heard her say this to all the nurses and aides as she threw them kisses. They have displayed a kindness and warmth to her, which I feel is quite genuine. Fortunately mom still runs around most of the day in her Merry Walker inviting everyone she sees to join her on her travels. Ruthie with her smiles and sweet demeanor has been able to capture their hearts .

Whether my mother knows who I am or not this trip seemed to be harder for me. I was left with unanswered questions and thoughts of mom's life as it now exists. She will be ninety years old in August with no other health issues. If she were free from Alzheimer's I would be thrilled. Given what this disease has done to her I wonder if there is any quality left in her life.



MY MOM MY HERO is for all the special people in your lives. Over 100 great reviews.

Available on Amazon & Kindle worldwide.

http://www.amazon.com/Mom-Hero-Alzheimers-A-daughters-bittersweet/dp/0615773982/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1389797650&sr=8-1&keywords=lisa+hirsch



Thursday, March 6, 2014

IS THIS THE LONG GOODBYE ?


IS THIS THE LONG GOODBYE ?


My best friend's mother just passed away after suffering from Alzheimer's for the last several years. As she sat by her mom's bed for the last week watching her fade away, I could not stop to wonder what it will be like for my mom when her time arrives. As I received the news uncontrollable tears began to run down my face. I knew a great deal of the sorrow that I was feeling was connected to my own personal grief.

At the Alzheimer support group that I have been attending for almost three years, my leader has been telling me that I was in a grieving process. The first time she said this to me, I responded that I was not, because my mom, was not dying. Now I understand all, too much.

It's funny because just the other day one of mom's nurses reassured me, with delight in her voice, that my mom was doing great. She shared with me how blessed my mom was and that she'll be around for quite a while. After hanging up the phone my emotions, thoughts and feelings ran rampant.

Yes, I understand that I am lucky to still have my mom, yet I also know how much more Alzheimer's can rob from her. Just thinking of how much worse she could become, as this disease progresses, leaves me feeling nauseous and sick to my stomach.

I must confess, that at moments throughout the years, knowing that there is no cure, I have wished that my mom could just close her eyes and go to sleep. I know that if she understood or could see what was happening to her, she would also wish for the same.

Today, I am in mourning for my best friend's mom and maybe also grieving for mine. For now I know that I must express what I am feeling to free myself from these haunting thoughts.

Maybe for my mother and our family this will be a long goodbye. Whatever it is I need to get back into the space of feeling grateful. In less than two weeks I will be going with my son to visit her.  As long as I can see her smile and hear her say she loves me, I will push myself to come from a place of being thankful. Yet for now, I can only feel saddened.


MY MOM MY HERO is for all the special people in your lives. Over 100 great reviews.

Available on Amazon & Kindle worldwide.

http://www.amazon.com/Mom-Hero-Alzheimers-A-daughters-bittersweet/dp/0615773982/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1389797650&sr=8-1&keywords=lisa+hirsch



 

Friday, February 21, 2014

SHE'S ALWAYS MY MOTHER



SHE'S ALWAYS MY MOTHER


As each day passes my mom has her moments of distance and familiarity. It had been several days since I was able to hear her sweet voice. I phone each day and get updates from the nurses on how she is doing. I have learned to accept this, although I deeply miss the kisses that once ended all of our daily calls.

Today is what I would consider a day filled with sunshine. Mom was just walking by the nursing station as I phoned. She picked up the receiver and as I shared my sentiments with her, my eyes filled with moisture. "Mom I really miss you." She answered back in a voice that sounded free of Alzheimer's. "I miss you, too." I was thrilled to tell her that I would be visiting her in exactly four weeks. Her answer was "that's wonderful," as she dropped the phone.

It was a moment of magic for me to cherish. Somethings never change for just hearing her voice warms my heart and soul. Not one day goes by that I take for granted the miracles left of her life.

I recently watched a movie that dealt with a relationship between a mother and daughter. As it came to an end, I felt different emotions beginning to swell in me. It was the realization that I can no longer share with mom any of the meaningful things that transpire in my life.

In this respect, I recognize that this part of her has vanished. The mom who comforted me or delighted in my accomplishments is no longer capable of doing so. This awful disease has stolen this piece of her. A part that I know will never return.

Yet with it all, we still can share a deep love. What perhaps has changed is that in many ways our roles have reversed. Now it is my turn to care for her, as she had once cared for me. The truth is that no matter whatever my mom can or cannot do, I still am her daughter, and she will always be my mother.


MY MOM MY HERO is for all the special people in your lives. Over 100 great reviews.

Available on Amazon & Kindle worldwide.

Friday, February 7, 2014

TRUE BOND OF LOVE


TRUE BOND OF LOVE


I found this on FB today and I just wanted to share it with you. It's amazing how they captured what is so embedded in my heart. My love for my entire family. There was only one person who was not in these pictures, and that is my brother. So I posted him on top of this page.

It's only 1 minute long. Hope you enjoy it. It shows all the love we feel for one's family, which is something that we all do share.

Thanks, Lisa

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=596382897108956

Friday, January 31, 2014

THE SUN KEEPS SHINING

 
 
THE SUN KEEPS SHINING .

As my mother enters the latter stages of her life, whether or not she has Alzheimer's, I try to keep a smile on my face and faith in my heart. Mom will be turning ninety years old in six months. The reports from the medical team at the nursing facility tell us that she is extremely healthy.

Yet it is difficult to know how slowly or quickly her body will break down. In several ways mom is strong and appears to have much "life" left in her. Although her memory hardly exists, she still is able to communicate with everyone and stroll around in her Merry Walker. For a woman with Alzheimer's for over nine years, keeping things in the correct perspective, she is doing great.

The other evening at 8PM the nursing home phoned to tell me that mom had a large black and blue mark on her arm. I asked several questions to the nurse, "can she move her arm, is she complaining of any pain?" The nurse reassured me that everything was fine, just that she had to follow procedures to notify the family.

Thanking her for calling, and as I hung up the phone feeling relieved, and noticed that my husband appeared to be upset. He was holding his head as if in anguish. I could not imagine what was possibly running through his mind, and only wanted to comfort him.

I was surprised by his reaction as he shared that he was fearful that was "the" phone call, telling me that my mom had passed away. At that moment tears fell from my eyes and rolled slowly down my cheeks. I knew deep in my heart that one day I will receive this call.

As I look at my mom's life, as long as she is not suffering, I can only be grateful that she is still alive.Yes I have my moments of wondering what kind of existence does she have. When my mind travels down that path I quickly bring myself back to soak up the rays of sun. I know that we are not able to choose how we die, yet we get to choose how we feel and how we wish to live.

I am committed to be "in the space" of being happy. This is how my mother would want me to be.  I embrace celebrating her life, her love and as of today, I will continue to allow "our" sun to keep shining through .


 
MY MOM MY HERO is for all the special people in your lives. Over 100 great reviews.
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Friday, January 24, 2014

A MAGICAL MOMENT





A MAGICAL MOMENT

My mom now has had Alzheimer's for over nine years. Her younger brother suffered with this disease before passing away 6 years ago. My grandfather lived to the ripe age of eighty-two and my grandmother died of colon cancer at the age of fifty-six.

Maybe if my grandparents lived longer, especially my grandmother, then they too would have shown signs of dementia. My brother and I wonder what caused this to plague our immediate family. Were there other ancestors who had Alzheimer's ?

We have no answer, yet pray that it skips our generation, and those of our children. By then hopefully there will be a cure or at least some prevention.

Recently, I asked my brother if he could phone me, so I could speak to my mom during his visit. It was late in the afternoon and instead of calling me he sent me a picture of her curled up sleeping in her bed. To be honest seeing her in a hospital bed left me feeling troubled. I also felt sorry that she was unable to enjoy his bi-weekly visit.

A half an hour later my brother phoned and said that mom had woken up, as he placed the phone to her ear. I excitedly asked her is she had some nice dreams. Not only did she answer me sounding perky she responded "yes, I dreamt of how beautiful you are and how much I love you."

This made my day and perhaps my "entire" year. At that second I knew that this was a magical moment. I could hear the presence and clarity in her voice. We continued to converse in ways that have all but vanished for the last few years.

I chose to be brave and presented mom with my favorite question for her. One that I use to ask several times a year. It had intrigued me that although she had no memory she was able to always answer it the same way.

As my brother listened to our conversation, I said, "Mom if you could wish for anything for your children what would it be ?" Mom then said, with a joy from deep within "for my children to be healthy".

I heard my brother utter "what a great answer." At that instant I knew that this was a magical moment. One filled with sunshine as we continue to share not only our love, but our long goodbye.


MY MOM MY HERO is for all the special people in your lives. Over 100 great reviews.
Available on Amazon & Kindle worldwide.