Monday, July 11, 2016

MY BIRTHDAY WISHES

 
MY BIRTHDAY WISHES

I will be celebrating my birthday July 12th and I, who never made a big deal about this day, now feel differently. I find it sad that the woman who gave birth to me has no memory of this day, or in fact, any other day. Mom for the last thirteen years has been suffering from Alzheimer's.

The sorrowful part is that each year as I get older I loose a little bit more of her. Having a child of my own I cannot imagine that I might one day not remember bringing him into the world; or perhaps that I even had a child.  How could a disease like this invade one's mind and destroy a life that once was? This thought sends shock waves and chills through my entire body.

Alzheimer's is a rotten disease yet mom has been one of the more "fortunate" ones. The disease has not left her agitated and she seems to have opened her heart to more love. It is I, who feels the effects of the disease.

In mom's mind she still remembers me (and my brother) as a young child. Her mind has traveled back in time to thinking she still lives with her parents. A place and time for her that she once felt safe, loved and secure. Everything else has pretty much disappeared, so how could she in her mind now have a daughter all grown up? It's almost as if time has stood still.

Forgetting my birthday is the easy part, it's when I think about how she now lives and all the things she can no longer do, that I get upset. The simple things like getting out of bed each morning, feeding herself, getting dressed, combing her hair or brushing her teeth. These are things she no longer can do, yet I do them each morning maybe taking "life" for granted.

Mom does not realize how different her life has become because she has no memory of what her life once was. For her this is a "blessing", and for me it is being able to "accept" how things now are.

So mom, whether you can remember holding me in your arms as I took my first breath or tying my shoes as the laces came undone; this no longer matters. As long as you are not in pain and seem to be "relatively" content then I guess for now, as I blow out my birthday candles, there is not too much more that I could wish for.

I love you mom and will always be grateful that you are the mom who for many years put candles in my cakes; and as the years went by, you watched me grow up into a young lady, get married and have a child of my own.
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.

Other blog postings My Mom My hero can also be found

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lisa-hirsch/
 


MY MOM MY HERO book is dedicated to my mother and yours. 
Available on Amazon & Kindle & Audio.

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

5 comments:

  1. Hi Lisa,
    I have enjoyed reading your blog and the stories that you have on Huffington Post which is where I first found out about you. I was a caregiver for my mother who had Alzheimer's. She was also an amazing person like your mother. My mom was born on a farm in Minnesota and had a great childhood. When WWII came along she got involved in the war effort and moved to Washington where she hoped to put her secretarial skills to good use. She joined the OSS and was one of 7 women including celebrity chef and author Julia Child who went out to Ceylon and later to Chunking China helping run the OSS offices there. My mom met her future husband there, dad was a Major in the British military in the intelligence office. They married after the war in London but moved to New York as life in post war England was not very good.

    My mother raised 4 kids, I was the baby. She went back to work in about 1958 and eventually worked for the head of PR for the new El Al Airlines in Manhattan. In the late 60's my dad took a sales job in Atlanta and mom didn't work after that but she and dad traveled all over the world together and led and active life.

    She started showing signs of dementia in about 1998, dad said it was just normal aging but it slowly got worse. I would visit and she would ask me all kinds of questions about what I did and if I was married and had kids. This was hard as she had been so active with her grandchildren but had forgotten them. I would answer the questions as i ate my meal at the table and a few minutes later all the questions would start over. My dad was her main caregiver until he got macular degeneration and lost his eyesight. My older sister who was single and I helped take care of them as dad didn't want to go into a nursing home. My mom fell and broke a hip and had it replaced and was fine albeit slowly loosing more of her memories and then she fell again and broke the other hip and could not learn to walk again.

    We had home hospice but it was the care that my sister and I gave her that kept her alive for almost 2 years at home. My wife traveled a lot for work and my kids are grown so I lived off and on with my parents and sister caring for my parents. Every few months I would get away and meet my wife somewhere, it was kind of like having an affair as we would just meet in another city where she was working, sometimes we even met in other countries! And when my sister needed a break I covered the care taking solo for a while. Mom got to where she didn't know anyone but my dad. We were lucky as my mother had always been so soft spoken and gentile in her life that she remained so with her Alzheimer's and never raised her voice or got agitated as some do.

    We had to feed her a mostly liquified diet as she could not swallow very well. And we had to change diapers, undress and dress her. We had a hospital bed at home and a Hoyer lift to get her to and from her wheelchair. One day at the end she pushed the food away that I was feeding her, and said "no more." She did not eat again and died peacefully a few days later with all of us around her. She and dad were married 62 years. He died from a stroke 6 months later.

    This was back in 2008 and I still have such strong memories and thoughts of that time. Why did it happen, why did she loose all those memories. Did I do the right thing, was I a good son. Will it happen to me and who will take care of me. Silly thoughts that you have at 3am and can't sleep or solve anyway.

    Anyway, have wanted to contact you for quite some time and just took the time today.

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    1. Chris what I just read about your mom and your family history is amazing. Thank you so much for sharing such an intimate part of your life. I am truly touched. Lisa

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  2. So true...
    I remember first realizing how bad my mother's dementia was when she had no recollection that my son was engaged to be married.

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  3. I have been checking out a few of your stories and i can state pretty good stuff. I will definitely bookmark your blog romantic birthday wishes

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