Sunday, March 1, 2020

Your mother should know

My mother’s declining condition with her Alzheimer’s disease helped us reassess what was best for her and we moved her into a memory care facility about a month ago.

Her first week there was terrible. The second week, not much better. The third and fourth weeks showed some improvement, though after every visit, or day trip with us, all she talked about was wanting to go home . . . and it continues.

Every week on our way to church we listen to “Breakfast with the Beatles,” on AM 580, CKWW out of Windsor. Today the first song we heard was “Your Mother should know.”

It was Liverpool Synchronicity.

Mom loves being in her church. She always knows where she is and is greeted warmly by her friends. Despite her condition, she can fake things very well. She still creates a welcoming environment as she greets strangers who quickly become her friend.

After church we take a drive through Royal Oak and she marvels at all the changes. Next up is a leisurely lunch at the Red Olive in Clawson, where we’ve never had a bad meal.

We lose more of her each week. When mom doesn’t remember something about her parent’s or my Dad’s passing, I explain to her that it is OK to forget.

And then I give her the best reassurance I can to remind her we are here to help remember everyone and everything for her.

After that, she wraps her arms around me and says: "Oh, thank you. I love you."

You're welcome Mom. Everybody loves you too.

Monday, January 20, 2020

Dogs don't lie


Yesterday was perhaps the greatest day I’ve ever spent with my mother, not just in modern day, but within my entire life.

It started on the way to church listening to “Breakfast with the Beatles” on AM radio. I always ask her if she remembers the Beatles and she always replies with passion: “Oh yes!”

The next stop was church, where her ROFUM friends smiled, hugged and shared their love. Something about the building where she spent so many years always brings out the best in her.

We had a great meal and when we got back to my house Jack and Needa loved on Mom for a while. It was an easy, happy, for her. Then we came to the universal agreement and conclusion that “Dogs don’t lie.”

We went through my baby books, page by page I read her a book called “Dog Quotations.” And for the moment she understood every one of them and we had some good laughs talking about the dogs and cats we’ve had in our family.

We watched old TV shows, like the Brady Bunch, Gilligan’s Island and eventually the Monkees. But we talked about so many more; The Love Boat, Daniel Boone, Carol Burnett, Maude (which she never let me watch as a kid) Jack Benny, MASH and others.

Many cancers can be fought and conquered with medicine, prayer and a positive attitude. It is not easy to do but it can be done with success.

When you have Alzheimer’s disease hit your parent and it keeps working its way up to the torturous top, I’m here to tell you; you almost wish it was cancer instead.

Earlier in the week, Mom and I had our movie day and saw the film, 1917, one of the most riveting films I’ve ever seen. Then we had lunch at Hippo’s in Troy; which was one my parents and favorite “together places.”

On the way home, Mom asked me if I’ve seen my Dad or her Dad lately and if she can come and live with me. It is at this point that I go into what is called "therapeutic fibbing." Look it up.

During the good hours of the day when she is hitting on all cylinders, the moments are gold. The other hours are reserved for ripping my family apart, at a slow, torturous pace.

I was especially grateful to God yesterday, for providing this brief window of light in my mother’s world.

And I know he was still walking with us three hours later when she was devoid of happiness and back to living in a foggy hell of confusion.

My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
Psalms 73:26.

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

I was watching old family movies today when my Mom called.

She was distressed and told me she had been trying to reach my Dad all day, but couldn’t.

I reminded her that we all miss him and loved him dearly.

Right now, it feels like my heart cannot add another ounce of anything.

But tomorrow is another day.