Wednesday, April 27, 2016



This is my mother 26 years ago. A lot has changed since then. My dad passed away 22 years ago and my son Logan is now 28-years-old. For the last three years mom has been living in a nursing home. Except for Alzheimer's and macular degeneration she takes no medication and is in perfect health.

In many ways my family has a lot to celebrate and be thankful for. Occasionally friends will ask this one question of me. "How is your mom doing?" I often answer, "my mom is doing good considering that she's had Alzheimer's for the last 12 years."

Several weeks ago I stopped to really think about this question. I thought about mom, a lady who has no idea about the life she once lived.

She no longer understands that she needs to get dressed each day, brush her teeth, or comb her hair.

She never thinks about what she'd like to eat, or what restaurant she'd like to go to.

She has no idea what has transpired in the world or that we just celebrated Thanksgiving.

She has no fear of Ebola or terrorism.

She does not understand that her only grandchild just got married. 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. She does not remember giving birth to her two children.

She never has to decide where she'd like to go on vacation or what country she'd like to travel to. Life for her has certainly become "carefree".

Mom has no understanding of how her life has been wiped away by such a horrific 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 decision that I have made.

Today there is no cure for Alzheimer's. So as long as I believe that my mom is "happy" and not in any pain the only thing left for me to do, is to love her completely.


Tuesday, April 19, 2016



I have read that physical touch is one of five ways people communicate and receive emotional love. It is also stated just reaching out and taking someone's hand can be the beginning of a journey. For me holding hands was the most tender moments that my mother and I shared during my month long visit.

As our fingers were intertwined like never before, as we held each other's hands, it felt to me as if I never wanted to let go. It was at that very moment that I became aware of how meaningful human touch was with my mother. Mom's fingers spoke words to me. They told me how much she loved me as I felt her warmth and tenderness like never before.

Every once in a while she'd open her eyes, look at me, squeeze my hand and smile. How I yearned to know what she was thinking, although on this day most of her words remained silent. Suffering for twelve years, Alzheimer's disease has been removing her use of language.

On this particular day as I played some of mom's favorite music she held my hand tightly as she either hummed along or softly spoke a few words to let me know how beautiful the music was. Heavens doors seemed to open as we listened to Susan Boyles sing "I Dreamed A Dream", Andre Bocelli and Pachelbel Canon in D major.

We held each other's hands for hours as if we were young lovers. Yet this was different it was my mother that I was touching. We needed no words, just holding hands said it all. We both held on so tenderly as if never wanting to let go. Each day thereafter I hungered for my mother's touch, meaning more to me than I could have ever imagined.

I am now back in New York while mom remains in Florida. Not only do I miss her deeply I very much miss the caressing of our hands. I miss her touch, her warmth her tenderness which filled my heart with love.

What does the human touch mean to you? Is it feeling the warmth and caring of another human being? Or is it perhaps feeling loved? Is it embracing another person?

Whatever it means to you, for me, it was an intimacy so different than one that I could have ever dreamed I would be able to share with my mother. It is for me a love that has come full circle and now is complete.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016



As my month long visit comes to an end my trips each day to see my mom get harder and harder. I can feel my emotions surfacing, taking over as if I were riding a roller coaster.
I awake each morning  feeling like I could cry. I feel the pain of leaving her. In some ways I think I am deserting her. How I wish that I lived near mom so I could cuddle and care for her. I have this burning desire to protect her, as if she were my own child.

In many ways our roles have reversed, yet I yearn to hear her call my name. Even if it is for a brief moment I want her to know that I am her daughter.

Saying goodbye never gets easier. It’s not just leaving a parent, but also not knowing how much more of her will be left when I return.

I wonder if mom could have a sixth sense for on one of the final days of my visit my husband and I found her in bed. We caught her having a dream as she was having a lengthy conversation with someone. After she awoke she continued speaking to us with phrases that had a "philosophical" meaning. She shared her feelings on how we should appreciate our life and be kind to one another.
Could mom possibly know what I was feeling these last few days, or could this have been a miracle from above? Did she want to send me back to New York feeling complete? I felt like she was a Buddhist or an angel who had just spread her wings.

I realize that life is not fair. Some people die young and some live to an old ripe age. Some people in their nineties are still driving their cars while others have moved into nursing homes unable to care for themselves. None of us know what lies ahead and for this we need to be grateful for each day that we are alive.
Mom lives a life I hope never to endure for myself or any of my other loved ones. Her life was once so full and now she is locked away in her own universe. It is hard to explain yet sometimes it appears that she is trapped in the unknown world of the “Twilight Zone”.

Who am I to really judge if this is a life worth living. I wish that I could wave a magic wand and bring her back into the real world. Alzheimer's disease is a true mystery that also fascinates me.

I only wish that mom could understand all the love I have for her. I am fortunate to have been given a second chance to love her in a way that I never realized existed. Mom has become my hero. Her strength and courage inspires me each and every day.