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.
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