Monday, July 25, 2011

Since you asked......

"How is your mother?"  I get asked this question at least twice a day.  What is it that people really want to know when they ask this?  Shall I tell you that she prefers a lollipop to my hand in hers.....that she stares through and beyond me with no sign of recognition.  She wears her food down the front of her like a new blouse and a good day is when she takes in 4 spoon fulls of whatever it is they are serving.  She is shrinking it seems.  She reminds me of a tiny bird with a map of blue veins criss-crossing just under the surface of her skin, her pulse faint,  but present.  Well meaning friends tell me it is too hard to see her in such a state and therefore cannot bring themselves to visit.  I nod, not sure what to say.  I hear from staff that she is feisty at times.  I have not witnessed this.  She is living the life she most feared, though one can scarcely call it living.  I buy diapers by the case each month......she no longer even alerts staff to her need to void.
How is my mother?   The same........but thanks for asking.

"How are you?"  No one ever asks this of you in relation to your parent with Alzheimer's.  I am tired.  It is a bone weary mental fatigue that doesn't go away.  There is a moment each morning when I first awake that I don't have a mother with Alzheimer's.  It only lasts a moment before the evenings cobwebs clear and reality comes back....but it is my favorite time of day.  I walked in to my mothers room the other afternoon as they were changing her diaper and I had to walk out in embarrassment for her,..... at this indignity that would have devastated her at one time.  I stumbled to the parking lot and cried by my car for all that she and I have lost.  I went to a support group once and was the only one who showed up.
I watch the husbands and wives on her unit and go home and cry for them.  I hold my husband just a little tighter praying that this disease doesn't come into our life.  I grieve over and over.  My grief now is all about the loss of the woman she was.  At her death, will that change?  Will I finally just grieve the loss of my parent?  When I walk onto her unit and find that another resident has died, I think to myself..."good for them."  They've been released and are free.  I will probably have to move my mother to another facility.  It seems she has defied all actuarial tables and has outlived her money.  They say the transition to somewhere new is hard and may cause a decrease in her functioning.  I don't know how any less functioning she can be.  How am I?   The same............ thanks for asking.


  1. There really aren't any words, Pam. Thank you for sharing your journey, because I know it is helpful to others who share your experience. Yep, no words that make sense. So I'll just send you cyber (((HUGS))) from Florida.

  2. It's what we say when we don't know what to say.
    We need to learn to say, "I'll listen if you want to talk".

  3. Exactly! The same = argumentative, depressed, paranoid, repetitive, scared, blank faced, sitting and staring . . yes, "the same" is a good answer.