ALZHEIMER'S-THE SUN WAS TRULY SHINING
As the first week of our visit came to an end, I was hoping to mom become more aware. Fortunately, during week one, each day mom seemed to become a little more alive. I could see she was yearning for the warmth of our human touch. I only wished that she would recognize me as her daughter. Alzheimer's disease has stolen from mom not only her identity but those whom she loved.
Since our arrival, each day was either cloudy or raining with only hints of sun peeking through.
The weather was not cooperating although this was not why we came to Florida. It was to spend some quality time for the entire month with mom. As week two began I awoke to the first day the sun was shining. There was not one single cloud in the sky. It was a crystal clear day and I felt the warmth from its rays, yet I could also not help but feel a pang in my heart.
My heart ached and I knew it was somehow connected to mom and the sunshine. I wondered how I could feel so sad on such a sunny warm day. I soon realized the heaviness I felt was that I could not share this day with mom. I knew she was probably incapable of enjoying it.
Truthfully speaking she has no awareness of what is happening in "our" world. She cannot recognize whether the sky is cloudy or filled with brilliant sunshine. She does not care and the world she now lives in could be described as a safe haven.
I wished that I could have taken her out to feel the warmth of the white sand as we strolled on the beach. I wanted mom to be able to put her toes in the sparkling water and feel the suns reflection on her body. This was a pastime that we once shared, one that I knew she loved. I was feeling sad just knowing she was missing out on this glorious sunny day.
As my husband and I approached the nursing home I realized that I had to quickly shake off these negative thoughts and feelings that were embedded in my soul.
As we approached mom, her first words were "I'm too young to die." She then tenderly touched my hand and kept repeating "stay with me," as we circled the hallways of the facility. I wondered what could she possibly be thinking?
On the tenth day my cousin's family came to visit mom. Mom had seven visitors all at once. I was hoping that all the noise and attention would not disturb her. Sometimes the sound of noise can be disorienting for those who suffer from Alzheimer's. I know that mom had no idea who anyone was, yet the mere fact that my cousin wanted to come and bring her family meant the world to me.
The following day I was pretty certain we would find mom curled up in bed feeling exhausted. Instead we found her walking around in her Merry Walker filled with lots of energy, beaming with happiness. She immediately asked my husband if he would be her "boyfriend" quickly adding that she was only kidding. For that moment mom was back, quick witted and sharp as she could be.
As the day came to an end, this visit with mom is one that I hope never to forget. It became a day when that the sun was truly shining!