Sunday, May 29, 2005

Alzheimer's...the Winding Road 5/29/05

5/29/05 - I'm learning that you don't have to have memories to be happy. My mom, Gayle...is a relatively bright and cheery person day to day. Sometimes she has her days...where she's difficult and feisty. But overall she's happy. Her memory continues to decline. Usually she knows I'm Susan. Sometimes she thinks I'm her daughter...or her sister...or and old school mate.

Sometimes I'll quiz her to see what she's thinking about...what she remember about the past. Her memory continues to slip away. Not sure how much of it is the memories slipping away as opposed to her verbal capabilities declining...and not being able to express or put into words what she thinking, remembering or feeling.

Before I was so focused on the losses and everything this wretched disease was taking away. But now over time...I'm at a place where I'm focused on "the now". Making the time I do spend with her a fun time. In the past I was more focused on some anger that all of a sudden here I was having to be responsible for, take care of and be loving towards a parent with whom I didn't feel particularly close to. I carried some resentment over things that happened, or were said...and now here was someone taking withdrawals from an emotional bank account that she hadn't made many deposits into.

Thankfully that's has changed. Not perfect...and it has it's bumpy days too...but overall it's better. My expectations are much less...more realistic. I'm not trying to balance things...and keep things normal for Gayle...when obviously things will never be normal again. The best choice was moving her into the Alzheimer's unit...where she gets more care and is made to participate in activities. It's simpler and at her level. The people around her are also at a declining functioning level. So she doesn't seem to pretend to be normal as much as she use to.

Like all things viewed in 20/20 hindsight...I wish I had done things differently earlier. I tried for so long to keep things as normal as possible for as long as possible for her. Thinking that's what she wanted. When in fact...it probably made things worse. She tended try and act normal when it was beyond her capabilities. That ended up causing frustation, stress and anger.

Sometimes seeing her now...I feel like I'm seeing what she was like as a child. I see her so vulnerable...and I'm grateful to God for providing Brighton Gardens...and the money for her monthly rent. Yet...I still do pray that God would be merciful and let her pass away in her sleep...before she's too far gone. But until such time...provide for her needs and mine...and give strength and wisdom...and some good times and fun too.

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