Monday, January 27, 2014

remember me?

I didn't mean to take such a long break...but boy have I needed it! Christmas came and went in a whirlwind...and then my poor sweet father got sick. He's all better now but it took a while for him to bounce back. I'm going to continue this little blogging break for another little bit...and then I'm hoping to get back, better than ever. But first I wanted to share this...

My father getting sick was an eye-opener for our family. I haven't mentioned it here before but my darling mother was diagnosed with dementia a few years ago. So far, it seems she mostly has trouble remembering people's names and the names of some things. First it was the names of people she rarely saw, then progressing to people closer to her. And when my father was sick and not eating, we realized she wasn't eating either. The only thing I think she could remember to fix was peanut butter crackers.

My father is completely dedicated to taking care of her. When we talk to them about the future and getting extra care, they insist that they are doing okay on their own. My mother prays to God everyday that her memory won't get any worse. Compared to others in similar circumstances, she actually is doing quite well. She even reminds my father to take his medicine. And she knows all about what bills to pay and when.

What makes me so sad though is to think of the parts of my mother's life that are forever gone...no more knitting, sewing or crafting of any kind. No more cooking or baking. Back when she was first diagnosed, and we were looking blindly into the future, I worried how could she be happy if, among the things she loses, she loses hold of the things that make her happy. It's still a question I worry about but what I've realized is that the roots of who she is are still there. She is still my sweet mother.

I never imagined that writing this post would be so hard but I suppose that's really why I've never mentioned it here. I'm in denial, for certain. This isn't a disease that ever improves, is it? Little bits, like crumbs from a cookie, are lost everyday. It hit me especially hard the other day when I called and said to her "This is Amy"...and there was a pause...an unspoken "who?" It's so silly because I knew she forgot others names. Somehow though, I just didn't think she'd forget mine.

What can I do? Denial isn't the way. I know that. But maybe the thing to do is to realize that we still have most of that sweet cookie and treasure her. I suppose the day will come when most of the crumbs have fallen away. Perhaps then I can try to rejoice that I can still remember and those memories can make her whole again. My sweet mother with her golden heart.

I'll join my mother's daily prayer. She doesn't ask that it be taken away...just that it not get any worse. See? Even in that, you can see how sweet her spirit is. So I do that...I pray that her memory stays as it is as long as God wills it.

70 comments:

Jennifer W. said...

Oh, Amy -- holding you and your parents in my thoughts. I hope you are able to connect with a local organization that can provide resources to help you in making decisions regarding next steps (difficult as they may be)

Julie Clark said...

You have been missed. Understand completely about the care and concern needed for aging parents. Mine are 82 years old. My Mother has a form of Parkinson's and it has affected her greatly over the course of the last year. Working with medication and doses has proven tricky. She is no longer able to create or sew either so I can totally relate. Y'all will be in my thoughts and prayers. Count on it! When you are able to return to more active blogging, you will be welcomed back with open arms. Count on that too! Love, Julie

Debby said...

Hi Amy. Could you send me your email address. I would like to share with you about my father.

Jen Kershner said...

Oh Amy. I'm sorry. I can't imagine. These are such hard things to go through and I'm sending you continued strength and I'm so happy that you are finding the joys where they remain.

Myra said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dan said...

Thinking of you. It is so hard to watch as our parents go down certain paths. Keeping you all in prayer,
Laurie

judybee said...

You might want to read up on Dr. Mary Newport whose husband Steve was becoming increasingly forgetful and how she started adding coconut oil to their food.
I believe she has a book, but there is plenty of info online as well. Judy B.

Milissa said...

My mother had Alzheimers, and what worked to help her remember, was that I called around the same time daily. Previously I had called less frequently(although 2-3 times a week),she forgot that I called her(and told my other siblings that I never called), but once it was daily, she was comfortable, and even if I missed a day for some reason, she felt that I called, and that was good enough.

vivian said...

Hi AMy! so sorry about your mom. that is very hard to take Im sure, but you must have inherited her sweet spirit and I can tell you will handle it all well.. and of course.. you have God.. and he will carry you all through!
I know you know that. Hope to see you back again soon when youre ready! most of us will probably hop right over when you do. till then... xoxo and stay warm!
vivian

laurie -magpie ethel said...

I was just thinking of your this a.m. and wondering how you were due to the lack of posts. Sorry to hear that life hasn't been rosy. Keeping your parents in my prayers. Hang in there.

Roban said...

This brought tears to my eyes as I read it. It sounds like your mother is a precious person.... I'm so sorry that she is going through this. Prayers.

Eugenia said...

Dear Sweet Amy,

I have been there my darling girl. My mother was able to knit until the last year of her life. But all the other things like gardening,cooking, and caring for pets went away. Regardless, I enjoyed my mother to the very end. Even when she could no longer speak she could smile and enjoy ice cream.
Hold on to everyday. My father passed away 20 years before my mother, and although she forgot my name, she never forgot his name whole name.
Don't worry about the future simply enjoy each precious moment. xxooo Genie

LindaSonia said...

Amy... so sorry but will keep you and your family in my thoughts and prayers. God bless.

Dori Hallberg said...

My heart goes out to you and your family, Amy dear. God bless!

Julie said...

Praying for you and your parents today. May God's nearness be very evident and comforting to you.

melissa said...

Bless you sweet Amy as your family comes to terms with this. My own 85 year old mom had a stroke two months ago and we're dealing with that ourselves. It's hard, isn't it, but a comfort, I think, when others understand. <3

Dawn said...

Treasure the sweet moments, dear Amy. It is such a long goodbye…Alzheimer's. Lost my mother six years ago…but really it was much longer than that.
Now my mother-in-law is going down the same path.
Day at a time.
Keep smiling.
Dawn xo

Peggy Houston, TX said...

Oh Amy this hits very close to home. My mother had dementia too. I wrote a blog post about one of our visits and I'm so glad I did. http://pegomh.blogspot.com/2011/11/memory-without-photo.html

Peggy Houston, TX said...

Oh Amy this hits very close to home. My mother had dementia too. I wrote a blog post about one of our visits and I'm so glad I did. http://pegomh.blogspot.com/2011/11/memory-without-photo.html

www.sweet-xdreams.com said...

I understand what you're going through. My own mother stood looking at me one day in a store, and then said loudly,"I know you!!", as if she'd just seen someone she hadn't seen for years.
Recently, it was "Why didn't you come for Christmas?"
I was there.
I think a lot of times, the denial is that we think our parents will always be the people they were when we were growing up...that nothing will happen to them or change. Even that they won't ever leave us. Unfortunately, I realized at a very early age when I lost the man who raised me...my awesome God given gift of a father.
Maybe the denial is a way to prevent us from worrying that we are looking at ourselves in the future.
Just want to let you know you're not alone, and while it's not easy, you have many people who understand and care...even those of us you don't know personally.
God Bless you and your family, and I'll keep you in my prayers.

charlotte said...

tears and love for you, dear Amy. that metaphor about the cookie is so true- never was there a sweeter one than your dear mama. so happy I've had the honor to know her. xoxoxoxo

Connie Dunton said...

Amy, I can totally relate to your feelings, as we are taking care of both of my parents (age 90 and 85) who both have dementia. They are at the place now where they need 24/7 care. I would offer, after living through this, make sure that someone is monitoring their financial situation, as a family member used my parents lack of memory against them and basically stole nearly $80,000 from them in "loans". They could never remember they had given him money even a few hours before. I know it's tempting to think no one would do that, but please put some safeguards in place. It left my parents in the position where they had to get a mortgage on their paid off house, and it has left us very little money to take care of them. And make sure your Dad gets lots of extended breaks from his care taking...care takers of people with dementia die at a rate 65% higher than people who are not taking care of people with dementia. You have an excellent opportunity to plan ahead and enjoy the sweet times you have together now. I'd love to chat if you ever need someone to "talk" to!! Blessings on you!

Lori Bei Durst said...

Thinking of you and your family Amy. I know God continues to Bless You All. ♥

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Lucy said...

Thinking of you and your dear Mother.
XO, Lucy

Penny said...

I to will pray for her not to get worse. I am hugging you as I type, as I cared for my parents also. My dad had Alzheimer's first and then later we cared for my mama with lots of health issues. So I am so touched by your words dear one. God bless all of you.

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