Alzheimer’s and Mother’s Day, Remember Mom the Way She Used to Be

May 7, 2010 at 1:39 am 2 comments

In a few days, Mother’s Day will roll around again, and if your mother has Alzheimer’s, you’re probably dreading the festivities. You don’t know whether to ignore it or pretend everything’s all right. Your heart feels like a concrete block. Heavy and vacant. You want to honor your mother, but the mother you once knew and loved doesn’t seem to exist any more. Caregiving a mother with Alzheimer’s can be heartbreaking, there’s no way around it.

Working through the emotions that come with Alzheimer’s caregiving isn’t easy. Anger, even rage comes to mind. Sorrow, loss, frustration, longing, and grief also come in tow. You hardly have time to feel anything, you’re too busy keeping them safe, finding the next solution, and hiding behind every numbing way to avoid you can.

My mother had Parkinson’s and then developed Alzheimer’s. I felt like we jumped from one burning, sinking ship to another. At least with Parkinson’s she knew who I was. She didn’t try to hurt me or act and talk in ways that my mother would have never done.

And then something changed. I had this moment of clarity. My mother’s never going to be herself again. She’s never going to remember me or her husband or her life–ever again–and even if she does for a brief moment, it won’t last.

But I can remember. I know the stories, the bedtime songs, the recipes, the funny, crazy, even awful moments we shared as mother and daughter. I have the strength and perseverance to keep on loving her–the her she is now and the mother she’ll always be to me.

Somehow, that brought me comfort. I could let go of what I couldn’t change.

This Mother’s Day I hope you too, find a sense of peace. It’s far from idyllic, I know. But even a little peace is a blessing.

Entry filed under: brain fitness, caring for parents, elder care, family caregiving, Uncategorized.

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Lesley Austin  |  May 8, 2010 at 3:52 pm

    Dear Carol,
    I so appreciate your honesty. It helps me constantly to hear of other’s experiences through this terrible journey, especially when you are able to help us find the little bits of goodness to be found…and that reminds us to find them, too.

    I expect we will have a sweet Mother’s Day, and I will be remembering all of the years when my mother was indeed a lovely mother to me, tho’ now our roles are reversed.

    Happy Mothers Day to you.

    Reply
  • 2. La Dolce Living  |  May 19, 2010 at 9:25 am

    Thanks for sharing this. For sure, many sons and daughters who have moms with Alzheimer’s can relate to this.
    For some, Mother’s Days means treating mom to lunch or dinner, giving mom a gift and a card, or anything else just to honor the woman who loved and raised you. But for people whose moms are afflicted with this disease, I know Mother’s day can bring some strong emotions to deal with. It not uncommon to find oneself in a dilemma whether to celebrate the day or not. Of course, you want to make your mom feel special on that day but something in the back of your head tells you that no matter what you do, that day will just be the same like any other day for your mom.
    Alzheimer’s just brings some things in your life that you just can’t change. And I agree with you, that finding comfort in the thought you’ll always love your mom no matter is one of the best things that can help you cope.

    Reply

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This Blog

Hi, I'm Carol O'Dell. This blog will include stories and lessons I've learned while caring for my mom, and now as I speak to caregivers around the country. I hope to offer suggestions, ideas and insights that will help others.

While this blog is supported by Dakim Brain Fitness, I’m not blogging to promote the Dakim company or products. Instead, I’m writing about how caring and being cared for affects your life and your family. My hope is that this blog gives you a place to learn, reflect, gain new perspective to make it another day.

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