BY: Lisa Hirsch
Last year around the same time my husband and I stopped off to see my mom in Florida before our final destination to Bueno’s Aires, Argentina. Since that trip I have visited my mom several times during the year. Today my husband and I are leaving for Florida to visit mom for 6 days, while we will also see some friends and family from Bert’s(aka Fonz’s) side of the family..
I hope when we finally see mom on Thursday that she will be doing a little better. Some days my mom is still pretty good ,although the disease is taking it’s course.
Yesterday when I spoke to my mom I asked to speak to her caregiver Trudy(Elaine’s) daughter. My mom was confused as to who she was speaking to on the phone(namely me). She did not know what to say. Was it Lisa, her daughter on the phone ? She first said someone, then after I questioned her she said Lisa(?) with a real question in her voice , and then she said her sister(she never had one) and finally her daughter. I was thrilled that she was able to figure it out.
Anyway, Trudy did say that this was a harder morning on mom because my mom kept asking where the bathroom was. You see my mom has lived in the same home, her home for the last twenty five years. Need I say more. Hopefully when we arrive, my adorable mom will be doing better.
It’s Thursday and I have just arrived at my mom’s house. After mom opened the door she could not recognize my face for the bright light was blinding, and her macular degeneration also got in the way. Between that and having Alzheimer’s it is not always easy for her. Yet as soon as she realized that my husband and I were visiting she became alive and started dancing with both of us.
After spending our first day with my mom I came back to our hotel room and I started feeling a little sick to my stomach, not from food or a virus. My stomach and heart felt achy from sadness. As I spoke to my husband after watching “The X Factor”, I started to cry. When I awoke the next morning I didn’t feel much better.
Yesterday my brother and I got to speak about my mom, although I am still left feeling uneasy and confused about my mom’s living situation, given the progression of her Alzheimer’s. My mom out of her disease has become a prisoner in her own home. She never wants to leave and for her, her home is the only place she feels safe. She doesn’t understand this ,yet I now do.
As my brother and husband were playing tennis right in front of her home, I took my mom to watch them play. I had to hold her hand every step of the way, for she could not see from the bright sunshine that was beaming in the sky. From the moment that we left her home she only wanted to go back home. Later in the early evening we took my mom out to dinner and as always she only wanted to come back home. She looked highly uncomfortable as we sat in the restaurant and complained about how cold she was. Mom ate maybe two bites of her dinner and we had it packed up and brought it home. We went into her home to help her get undressed and washed as my brother drove away. My mom did not want to do anything from brushing her teeth, to washing, to getting into a night gown. This occurs whenever I do visit, except this time I got her to do half and decided to avoid struggling with her.
After I left her home, I thought of the three hundred and sixty five days a year that she’s alone after her caregiver leaves in the afternoon. Who has been there to help my mom along the way? Not me, not my brother, not my dad who passed away many years ago. I realize how I have pleaded through the years that it is now getting close to the time that my mom needs to be put into a home.
No, my mom has not wanted to leave her home and my brother and I have not totally agreed about this. Mom wanted to stay in her home and my brother wanted to let her remain there. I know that no one including myself would want to leave their home and go into a nursing home. It must be so frightening and between my mom’s childish ways and her mind in and out of reality, today she was able to say, and I quote her ” no one wants to die”. This she said with total clarity.
I now wonder what I am going to do with all my thoughts and feelings. Growing old is not much fun and we are not all so lucky to just go to sleep and not wake up. There are many different illness’s that we can face. My mom’s happens to be Alzheimer’s.
About the author:
After spending many years in the fashion industry, I recreated myself as a
blogger/writer after my mother developed Alzheimer’s. My mother inspires me
each day with her strength, humor and courage. She has truly become my hero. My writings are about the experience of being a caregiver, and our journey together.Since my mom became ill, our relationship has transformed into a touching and inspiring love story between a mother and daughter.
I am truly committed to spreading awareness about Alzheimer’s disease.