Alzheimer's is a disease that needs is frustrating. It is frustrating to the person going through it....because they can't remember simple things....and to the care-giving person(s) because they are helpless as they watch their loved one leave them. My first experience with it was first hand. My mom began slipping and forgetting things she did automatically. She was aging and we thought it was just a little hardening of the arteries.....but then it got worse....and I did not know what to do. Eventually I had to admit her to a lock down Alzheimer's unit in a local nursing home so that she would get the care she needed. Physically she was still my mother, sister to her brothers, aunt to her her nieces and nephews....it was mentally that was so heart breaking. The few times her two remaining brothers stopped in to visit...she knew their faces....but not their names. They did not visit much after that. That broke my heart. She was their sister. When they were ill she visited them. Angela Windsor's mom came to visit her often and always made my mom smile. She would always remember those visits and tell me about them. Melinda Blair visited regularly and my mom always called her her little angel. Melinda did not always sign in, but she would leave little momentos so I knew she had been there. Even the nurses on the unit would tell me that mom's angel had visited. It made me smile. Eventually...the only ones who visited where Angela, her mom, Melinda, and Frank and I. Eveyone else forgot her....wonder if they had a touch of Alzheimer's too. I was sad when even her pastor from the church they supported and loved quit coming. Visiting her was always interesting. Once with my husband Frank with me....she asked me who he was dating now. We had been married over 7 years. Once she called him Dougie. Dougie was my baby brother....he died when he was 5. Frank was such a good sport during these lapses in memory. I was not such a good sport. When she thought I was her sister, Shirley, it broke my heart and I cried all the way home. Many times I asked myself, "Why me?" "Why her?" My mom was a character...filled with wonderful life stories and one day they were gone. The only life stories that remained were the ones I remembered as a child. For those of you with family suffering from this horrible affliction my heart goes out to you. It is not a fun road to travel. I encourage you to keep a journal and write down all the memories during this time. You won't regret it....and one day you will be able to read them and laugh. Spend time with your loved one....even if they are not there mentally with you....it will prevent you from having regrets. I would not take anything for the time I spent with my mom. When her memory was pretty much gone.....she did remember one thing....the lyrics to "You Are My Sunshine." Every visit I would wrap my arms around her and we would sing the song....multiple times. When she was gone I had a charm made so I could remember that very precious memory....and I did a folk painting and put it on the wall next to her picture....she was my sunshine....and I was hers. God bless you all!
To Joey, With Love....WINNER!
7 months ago