Mom Talks About Living With Alzheimer’s

momtalksaboutlivingwithalzheimers

During times of lucidity, Mom and I talk about what’s going on and how she is feeling.  She expresses herself very well during these conversations and what she explains to me breaks my heart.  I can’t imagine how difficult it is to be cognizant that your mind is not working as it should and have little control over it.  Instead it controls you with an iron fist.  Below are some excerpts of what she’s told me.

“I know I am losing my mind.  That’s the frightening part.  I think if I could just lose it completely, it wouldn’t hurt as badly because then I simply wouldn’t be aware at times like these that I am not thinking the way I should, or the way I want to these days.  I know it’s easier for M because she’s turned that corner.  She’s happy where she is.  She’s not wishing that things were different.  She’s at peace.  I want to be at peace.  But I know that when I am at peace, I won’t really be in my brain anymore.

It’s difficult.  Words don’t come out right.  Sometimes I can’t remember what I’m going to say or remember a word that I’ve known for years.  I get easily frustrated.  I do dumb things.  I am as nervous as a cat all the time.  Afraid of making a mistake so that you know that my mind isn’t working.  I try really hard to make sure that I don’t say dumb things and sometimes when I see your face, I know I’ve said something dumb but for the life of me, I have no idea what I just said or did.  But I feel badly that I messed up.

It’s scary because my mind controls me.  I live in fear.  I live in the past.  I can remember my Daddy and my childhood better than I can remember yours.  It saddens me because I know I loved your Dad, but I can’t remember what he looks like anymore or how he was.  How can that part of my life just feel like it was erased?

Honestly, sometimes I think you are my sister or my mom.  I know that sounds crazy but because you take care of me, I think you are someone else and not my daughter.  I know this is a huge burden to you to care for me and I never wanted to be anyone’s burden, especially my child’s.  I just long to stay in my bed and sleep.

I try to do crossword puzzles and word finds to keep my brain functioning, but I can’t remember the answers so I have to look them up every time.  It’s exhausting and frustrating.  It’s like the word is on the tip of my tongue but I can’t reach it.  Sometimes later the word comes to me, unbidden and sometimes it never does.

My brain feels like it is full of twists and turns and I never know how to get out of the labyrinth.  I’m stuck in a maze and can’t find a way out.  I keep trying.  It just doesn’t happen.  How did I get here?  I look around and I am sad.  Sometimes I don’t even try and I just give up.  That’s when I go to bed because there I feel safe.  I just lay there and look at the ceiling and try to figure out how I got here.  Lord Help Me!

I can’t hear very well either.  I never realized it before but now I know that sometimes I’m not listening when people talk with me so I have no idea how to respond.  So if they are smiling, I smile.  I’m a good mimic.  When we watch a tv show or movies, I can’t really focus.  I need the tv louder so I can hear the voices and follow what they say.  My vision is a bit blurry too even though I had that surgery whatever it’s called to fix my eyes.

It’s like I can’t focus for long.  Too much background noise in my head, too many weird thoughts that blur everything.  I get off track quickly and easily and it’s getting harder to get on track again because that train has taken off! (giggle)  Then I can’t pick up from where we left off in our conversation or in the movie or the book because I have no earthly idea where I was.

I get lost sometimes so I only want to be in my home where I know where things are.  I don’t like to eat by myself.  I don’t remember what foods are so that’s why I want whatever you are ordering.  I’m afraid to make a decision because I just don’t know, I just don’t remember if I like that food.

I know my tastebuds have changed too.  I need more salt on everything so I can taste it.  I love sweets but then you already knew that.  Daddy had a store with candy and we grew up on candy all the time.  I get full pretty fast.  My stomach is always gurgling.  You keep telling me that it’s because I don’t eat, but I’m already full before we began.

I’m not trying to be difficult like a toddler.  I am doing the best I can with whatever I have at that moment.  I feel guilty that I’m frustrating everyone around me so I’d rather be left alone so that I’m not a burden and I don’t have to feel badly that I am putting everyone through this.  But I know I can’t take care of myself anymore and it makes me angry that I can’t.

I look in the mirror sometimes and I can’t believe that’s me.  When did I get so old and wrinkly?  I know how old I am but golly, in my head I still think I look like a young girl.  It’s just scary to be me.  I’m frightened all the time but every once in awhile I get to laugh.  I love hugs.  I love to share songs with you.  I’m just grateful when your kids come in to say hello and hug me.  I want to give back to you but I have nothing to give except my love.

I tell you I love you all the time because I don’t want you to forget it.  And I don’t want to forget you.  So bear with me.  Thanks for being here with me.  I love you.  I love you always and forever.”

Shine On!

xo

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28 thoughts on “Mom Talks About Living With Alzheimer’s

  1. I am sobbing like a baby! I can’t imagine hearing that as her daughter…it must’ve been so hard to become helplessly aware of her losses, struggles, and sufferings. And I am so so grateful you were able to live through her words again as you wrote this for us. Thank you, and a big, giant hug for you!

    • Thanks for the giant hug. I am sending you one as well. It was a gift to be there with her in those moments and to hear exactly how hard it is for her everyday and what it’s really like to endure the disease. I feel blessed that she was able to tell me and that I was able to share her experience with others to hopefully help us all. ♥

    • Oh Lulu, we have the same here. Sometimes depending on the day, I respond with ‘I know’ and give her a heartfelt embrace. At others, I have been known to laugh and say we all are ~ depending on her moods. It’s sad, isn’t it? ♥

  2. Alzheimer’s or dementia is my greatest fear. Your mother was very articulate about what she was going through. Thank you for taking the time to write it for everyone else to understand. You must have some very broad shoulders to carry this responsibility. I’ll keep you in my prayers.

    • Thank you for the prayers…any and all support is always appreciated. I simply hope that sharing her experience will help others who are enduring similar situations and help their caregivers to be compassionate and understanding along the way. ♥

  3. Yvonne,
    What a wonderful description of what one experiences with this disease, by your mom. She shows great strength in even wishing to speak of it. I can only guess the extent of the difficulty you are undergoing.

    Your frustration and concerns are well appreciated by those not directly involved.
    But, your mom, I believe, easies those concerns in one statement: “Thanks for being here with me.” When we have no choice other than to withstand a trying matter, knowing we are not alone is enough.

    “Blessed is he who endures under trials. When he has proved his worth, he will win the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love Him.”- James 1:12

    God’s grace and strength, Yvonne.
    -Alan

    • Thanks Alan. Yes, it was a gift that she said, “thanks for being here with me” because that’s the bottom line in life isn’t it? We are all just walking each other home to Heaven…and we do the best we can by holding hands and hearts as gently as possible. Big hugs to you Alan.

  4. Y, this is so powerful …and beautiful. My Mom died in 2001 from the ravages of Alzheimer’s, and for her last 3 years she was unable to communicate. Now, I would give anything if she had told me what your Mom told you. But, she would have never done that …it just wasn’t her. You are so blessed to have these beautiful messages from her.

    I know how terribly difficult is for you not to be able to help her, to fix her. It was excruciating for me. She knows her time in your lives is coming to an end. She will be elated, however, whether she is able to express it or not, if you and the rest of her family show her only love, respect, and gratitude in every visit, every smile, every hug, and every touch, while she is still here.

    Godspeed.

    • Paul, my heart goes out to you and to your Mom. I understand how you feel and it feels good to know that there are others with whom we connect and who understand what we are enduring so that we can support eachother along the way. I am so sorry your Mom has passed. Sending you huge hugs as always.

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