It’s me Karen but you already know that. You may have forgotten a lot but you know me and I’m so very grateful for that. So many people who have Alzheimer’s Disease don’t recognize or remember their loved ones.
I know you don’t know how sick you are or maybe you do? You keep telling me that you have to get your appetite back. “You will”, I say, as you eat your oatmeal. You still love your coffee only now it’s thickened coffee because Alzheimer’s has stolen your ability to swallow without choking. It sure has stolen a lot, hasn’t it?
How I miss our conversations! We could talk! I could tell you anything. You always listened and said what you thought and not always what I wanted to hear. You listened the way only a Mother can.
I remember the time we went to Busch Gardens, VA years ago. Eight hours on Amtrak because you didn’t want to fly. I was losing my mind…..eight hours on a train….and you were as patient as always just taking it in stride. I know you didn’t want to take that trip. You did it for me. A Mother Daughter trip. You, a homebody, were never into traveling except maybe the family cruise we took because you sure enjoyed the food and gained ten pounds! You are a simple and humble down to earth woman. You loved your family and especially your husband, my Dad. You never wore fancy clothes, never ever gossiped, never complained and you had a lot to complain about. Oh, how you loved a new pocketbook. I sure miss our trips to the mall where you would take a minimum of two hours to choose a bag and then talk about the bag for a week. I miss our weekly coffee dates where we would cover every topic. I miss you enthusiastically running out for the ice cream man and the way you devoured a piece of pizza or cake.
Oh, how you loved telling everyone the story of when I went into labor and you left work to catch the bus from Manhattan back to Staten Island and it wasn’t in service. Too early. You told the bus driver, “my daughter is having a baby” and he allowed you on. You did have a voice Mom. You used it for the things that mattered to you.
Selfishly, I wished you could have understood some things better. I wish I could have told you I have Multiple Sclerosis and hear your words of wisdom and advice. I tried when I was first diagnosed, however, it was obvious that Alzheimer’s had stolen your ability to process it. It made me so angry and sad. You were always my go to person for everything. Now I’m your go to person for everything and I’m not nearly as good at it as you were. I’ve complained and I’ve been impatient.
What I didn’t know when you were first diagnosed with Alzheimer’s is not only how brutal it is but that it’s a fatal disease. I’m here for you until the end Mom just as you were always there for me.
I love you Mom.
On March 13th 2020 my Mom, my best friend, was put on hospice at home. End stage Alzheimer’s Disease in addition to her heart condition.