You Are Always On My Mind
Everyday without fail, I talk with my loved ones with Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia. Most days, I am able to live in their reality, assure them that I am only a phone call away and talk about what interests them. I can veer the conversation towards happy thoughts and keep them peaceful, even when I’m not at peace. I can make sure that they are getting the best care possible by keeping in constant touch with their caregivers and going to see them every month so that I can spend physical time with them to really ‘see’ how they are doing because it’s hard when I’m so faraway from where they currently reside.
They are always on my mind, but especially when there’s trouble brewing, like when one of them has a cold, cough and are sick, or when the other one’s sundowners is acting up. It’s a vicious cycle to get one of them to bed every night and we’ve yet to find a solution to making it easier for anyone. My Aunt’s dementia revs up at night especially and I’ve gotten the 9pm phone calls asking for help in talking with her. As a strong-minded woman, she’s only gotten more steadfast in her beliefs that nobody puts her to bed but herself, and only when she’s good and ready (but…she’s never ready to go to bed any night of the week). That’s the problem.
Dementia is sneaky in the way it works on the brain and the personality of the person with it. It robs them of clear thinking and exacerbates the strong-willed portion which in turn makes it harder to help the patient to understand what is going on. Anger ensues as the dementia takes hold more and more because the patient gets frustrated by their own thoughts and brain because their thinking gets muddled. It truly breaks my heart to experience this as a relative, let alone to know that things don’t get better with dementia, they simply slide deeper into worse, plateau for a bit of a reprieve and begin the descent again in time.
I guess I’m feeling sad and lonely today because I’m feeling the losses more acutely these days. I feel for my loved ones with the disease as it’s frightening for them to have a ‘crazy head’ and not remember the simplest things like what they had for breakfast or where they live now. Sure they can carry on a decent phone conversation for a bit and many times can focus well. But there are times when their confusion breaks my heart in ways I never knew it could break. I know what their losses are, but much of the time, they don’t realize what they don’t remember…but I can never forget that they don’t remember and it saddens me. Sometimes the loss cuts me deeply to my core and I hang on with all my might to the good of the day, to the gratitude that they know who I am and say they love me and hear me say it back. Because I know, that one day it can happen that they don’t know me anymore and then the grief will begin in earnest for me, for there won’t be any going back in time, except in my memory.
If you’ve had a loved one with this mind-altering disease, then you probably understand the sadness I’m feeling today. It’s awful to feel so helpless and to watch loved ones’ minds slip away. It’s hard to be the strong one, to manipulate conversations to happy thoughts and to never be able to share that I’m not fine sometimes. With them, I am fine all the time, all is well, I tell jokes, make them giggle and I repeat that I love them over and over until I can see them in person next. I fix whatever needs to be done to make them more comfortable. I check up on them with the nurses and I make life easy for them as best as I can. I do it all with love, but sometimes I wish I could simply be taken care of myself as I take care of them.
They are lucky to have you and I know it can be difficult but just trust it is appreciated if not by their mind but by their hearts.
I know that it is and while they can say it and DO say it, I am ever grateful. It’s just sad to witness for them and for me. Thank you for taking the time xo
I know this experience from caring for my grandmother. It’s very hard to watch. I wish you the best.
You are a gift. In their lives. In our lives. In the world.
thank you for sharing your light. Know that when it is dimmed by sadness, we are here to carry it for you. let us be the caregivers giving you light.
Much love and light to you dear Yvonne.
♡♡♡ I know this feeling of wanting to be taken care of like that.♡. I’m here if you need an ear. I realized recently just how healing it is to have someone show up like that.♡
Making time to nurture yourself in stillness, or having a massage or sharing with others, really helps release built up emotions. Keep remembering to do this Yvonne, it is so important to replenish. Much love. 🙂
I’m with Louise, Laurie and Karen!! Take care of yourself, knowing that you are spreading goodness and love. ((Hugs)) val
“I do it all with love, but sometimes I wish I could simply be taken care of myself as I take care of them.”
I wish that for you too, with all my heart. What you do with so much love is sometimes, a very lonely thing to do. My heart is with you Yvonne…always. xo
Thanks for understanding Rhonda. I knew you would…xoxo
My grandmother suffered from Alzheimer’s Disease and my grandfather from Dementia. It is a hard thing to watch a loved one go through. Wishing you the best!
Thank you ~ it is hard to watch and experience with loved ones…so sorry to hear about your grandparents ♥
Saint Mother Teresa is smiling.
Amen…I feel her warmth and smile. ♥
Pingback: My Article Read (11-17-2015) | My Daily Musing