19 January, 2009

My mother is on Alzheimer's medicine. She's 60 years old. How do i deal with this? How do i reconcile the woman that i grew up with, the mom who always had a great interest in life, ran her own business with great success, adopted 4 children besides raising 4 biological, how do i reconcile her with the woman that's now? A person who can no longer say a full sentence without a big struggle, who can barely dress herself, doesn't remember to eat, much less cook. The worst part is that she knows it. She sees her independence leaving, her life, her mind. It's her worst nightmare come true. She took care of her mother when she became like a baby, but she was 90+ years old, it was to be expected. She wasn't 60.

I've wept alot the last 4 years. Agonized over how a daughter should relate, how a daughter should love. I want to treat her with respect and dignity and i don't know how. She still knows her children and even her grandchildren. She remembers them and for that i'm grateful. She asked me on the phone last week if i have any idea what it's like to be her and i had to answer with the simple truth that i don't. There's been glimmers of hope when they thought they might have found some answers but those hopes always died. She's resigned and says she's so glad for her family and her church. She's wondered what would happen to her if dad would suddenly die (her words, "it would be alot of work for someone to take care of me") and i've assured her that we'll take care of her. She's always thought a nursing home would be living death and i will do my best to never let that happen.

What is it? What's the answer? Is there one? Will it happen to me at 60? I think the questions are the hardest. The "not knowing." The medical field has no answers except to give her medication to hopefully slow it down, whatever it is. Alzheimers, including early onset alzheimers, is on a rapid increase in America. Partly due to the baby boomer generation aging and partly because of other things. Our diets of low fat? Trans fats? High sugar? pesticides? I'm not a fool enough to believe that it won't happen to me if i eat just right. We eat healthy for many reasons, but ultimately, my trust is in one place. A loving Heavenly Father who loves my mother more than i possibly could. He could've prevented it but He didn't. Nothing happens by chance and the only place i find peace is in Him. Trusting Him, not only in my mother's future but also in mine.

UPDATE: I talked to my dad and he said mom has refused to stay on her medication.

1 comment:

  1. ..Just Aunt Rachel back again ! ( And I don't know how else to do it but mark it as anonymous !!) I have an idea what you are going through as my father-in-law is here with us - in the part where Grandma Stover used to be. Dr. says his is dementia but I think in many ways like alzheimers. He is often mixed up and "sees" people with him - even one who lives behind the mirror and does whatever he does. You cannot convince him otherwise ! I don't know how much he realizes his condition but will sometimes admit he's mixed up. He is often confused about where he is and asks where he is to sleep. He often slips out thinking he must go to the "other place". Sometimes he comes with two shirts on or PJS peeping out below his pants. One of his sons can't seem to accept that this is happening to his Father and doesn't know how to relate to it. We sorta need to change roles from when they cared for us. I think you have the right idea - just show them loving care however you can! And , yes, don't send them off if at all possible. After they are gone, I think you will still reap benefits. One of our girls gave me an interesting thought : Grandpa ( 86 yrs. old ) is hardly living for his own benefit anymore, it must be for ours. This is long enough ! If you wish to reply otherwise, you can do so at family@floydweaver.com .


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