Sunday, May 22, 2016



I recently watched the powerful documentary Glen Campbell’s-“I’ll Be Me”. It left me with a feeling of respect, as well as pain for his family. Since my own mother has Alzheimer’s for the last twelve years, I completely understand for I have been walking down a similar path. The film also reminded me of something I had written in September 2012, which was a conversation that I had with my mother.
On one of my many visits to Florida to see mom, I had decided that I wanted to interview her. The way she responded touched my heart in a deep profound way. I would love to share this with you.                     

"Mom, what does it feel like not to be able to remember something?” She responded, "It’s not always so bad not to remember everything.”

Several years earlier I had presented a similar question to her, where her answer was quite touching. Mom said “I know that whatever happened yesterday to me had to be nice, whether I can remember it or not.” Through the years that mom has Alzheimer’s there certainly have been moments when she becomes her own Buddha.  

I never fear asking her any questions, for I know that immediately everything disappears from her memory. Since this disease runs in my family when I forget simple things I am quite aware of it. It’s funny because I never think about getting cancer for my mom has been cancer free. Yet when it comes to Alzheimer’s I do kid around about it, yet deep inside the question still remains.

Back to my past interview: I continue with," mom is all this scary to you?”  Her quick reply is "no it's not scary because if you cannot remember something, you just don't remember it.”  With wisdom mom was able to answer so easily.

She then started to reminisce about her own mother and growing up in Williamsburg and Coney Island, Brooklyn."Mom do you remember your mother's name?” “Of course, it was Pauline Schnitzer.” "Mom, what's your name?” "Ruth Schnitzer,” and "what was your father's name?”  She simply says, "I cannot remember.” With sadness I say his name was Louie.

I wonder if she knows my father’s name. Better yet does she remember him? How could she not for they were married for fifty years. She has to, it's my dad! She does not remember. 

"Mom how many brother's or sister's do you have?” “I have both a brother and a sister,” she answers. No mom, I say to myself, you had only one younger brother who died from Alzheimer's.  I decided to lighten up and move away from this conversation.

I have been back home for almost a week now and each day that I speak to her she seems to have some recollection that I was there. Mom said that when she woke up she was looking all over her home for me, and could not find me. It saddened me that we live so far apart. It makes my heart ache. So, do I jump on a plane and run back to her?

I often wonder how this little lady who stands only 4 feet ten inches can melt my heart in such a way that I cannot contain my love for her. 

This interview took place when mom was still living at home. Since writing this in 2012 so much has changed. Mom has been living in a nursing home for almost three years. She still speaks about her parents and most of the time does not know my name.

Most of her memory is gone yet, on a more positive note, she is still mobile and able to speak. For this I am quite grateful.

Monday, May 9, 2016



Several months ago I was asked to write a letter to my mom which was then published in a book called "Letter to My Mom". Reading other letters, I realized that I was not the only one who, at one time, had a fractured relationship with their mother. Actually a relationship that needed healing.

Mom for the last twelve years has Alzheimer's and since she became ill, my relationship with her is totally transformed. I'm not sure why it changed yet I am so grateful that I was given a second chance to love her unconditionally.

I have realized that my mother taught me so much about life, even when I was unable to recognize it. She was a lady who showed me strength, integrity mixed with "tough" love. Whether at the moment I realized it or not, I now know that she was always there for me and loved me with all her heart, only wanting the very best for me.

As Mother's Day approaches I once again reflect on what the meaning of a mother is to me. I would like to share some definitions that I have found.

"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 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."

"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."

Twenty eight years ago I myself became a mother. I vividly remember when I was pregnant and the day that my son entered the world. I melted as I held him in my arms for that very first time. I was so nervous since motherhood was something brand new to me. As challenging as it sometimes can be, for me being a mother was one of the greatest gifts in the world.

I'm sure that as a mother I could have handled some things differently, yet I hope that my son knows how very much I love him. 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 once did for me

So today on Mother's day I want to take the time to honor my mother. Even though mom has no idea that it is Mother's Day, I do, and I want to celebrate who she is.

Each one of us who has a mother with Alzheimer's, or has lost a mother to this disease, knows that whether they can recognize us or not, that they will always be our mother.

I would like to ask you to take a moment and reflect on how lucky we are to have had our mother's. This disease might have stolen them from us, yet not all the love that they feel in their hearts for us.

How lovely it is if we can all celebrate our mothers whether they had dementia or not. I love my mom deeply and would like to wish all the mom's a very Happy Mother's Day.

As Mother's Day approaches MY MOM MY HERO is a
wonderful gift for your mom or to give yourself honoring your mother.