I've mentioned before on these pages bits and pieces of this 10-year journey with my Mom since diagnosis of Alzheimer's. I've learned far too much about how this disease ravages our loved ones...and our families.
Six years into Mom's disease, both inlaws were also diagnosed...and both have already passed; her a year ago...and him this past Christmas. I remember my MIL being worried and concerned about my own Mom...then realizing day-by-day that she was also in its' grasp. I realized how differently this horrendous disease progressed in each of my loved ones...yet the same outcome always comes to be.
Mom hasn't recognized me as her daughter for about 5 or 6 years...she was always happy to have me visit, but had no idea who I was. It was not always this way! When first placed in the Alzheimer's Facility...her wrath seemed to be aimed at me more than any other of my 5 siblings! The 3 brothers who lived close to her and I visited often...me being an hour away now that they'd moved her for their convenience from our hometown where I still live. Mom had frequent visitors the first couple years, but soon it was only me visiting...driving down at least once a week...and thinking my weekly visits improved her care.
It didn't take too long for me to realize the frequency of my visits had little to do with how she was taken care of in this particular place...I could easily see that all clients were treated very well...no matter if family visited or not. We were lucky with Mom's placement...
Mom was moved to the "last" building about 4 years ago; she was not able to make outside trips any longer. She has been there longer than any other client...and all are surprised she is still lingering in this final stage.
Until about 6 months ago, I was still able to get thru to Mom...she'd sing a couple notes of a song I was singing...or mutter a few jumbled words to me that she hoped I understood...or give me a feeble little wave when I told her "I'll see you in a few days".....but these last few months have been challenging. Those vacant eyes that used to sparkle stare vacantly above my head...her tiny body is twisted to the side and bent forward trying to go back into that fetal position...legs pressed hard together in a crossed position that has made huge bruises...hands and feet all deep purple in color..........she is so near the end...but for some reason her body is still holding on.
A week ago, I called my Arizona sister on the way home...Mom has become so tiny...and so very distant, I told her I would think she would be gone in a week...maybe two. Everything I see in her now is exactly like both inlaws displayed..........and I am so ready for her to be at peace.
I decided to go down again last night to see her...not wait until the weekend. A friend who had asked about her asked if I'd told her "it was O.K. for her to go"..............and I realized I had not. Mom looked the same...and I wondered what was keeping her here. I stroked her hair, whispered favorite songs to her...wrapped my arms around her, then sat back with her tiny hands in mine. I softly talked to her and told her we'd be all right...it was O.K. for her to join Dad...her Mom who died when she was 10...her Father...and my little Steven. I had a hard time, but Mom didn't. She picked up her head and was right there with me for a tiny moment! She smiled at me, then gently squeezed my hand! I know she heard me...I know she knew I was there............what a wonderful gift Mom gave me! It was a good drive home............Pam
What a great gift you have given each other. Your mother knew that you needed to see your Mamma. She came to you. She came to see you, to look at her daughter-to smile at your with love. Perhaps it was her way of blessing you. What a wonderful moment for you. She knew exactly who you were and why you were they.
You gave her what she has been waiting for also. You gave her the right to die. You told her that you can make it on your own. Evn though she knew that you are all "grown-up" and capable, she needed to hear it from your mouth it is was all right for her to let go. When you told her it OK, she was finally at peace....as they say from your lips to Gods ears..
What a wonderful time for both of you. My guess is your mother may leave you very soon.... blessing on you both my dear. tuck this visit away to take out when you feel blue and need to remember your mother...
Oh my how that conversation hurt you but uplifted you at the same time. You were a brave and adult daughter that you needed to be and i know my God gave you that strength and for that I am thankful.
I too have told my mother that it would be okay to go. I'm not sure my sister has though. I think its what's holding my mother here.
So thank you for saying what you did. While we truly don't want to lose the time we have with the loved ones, we certainly don't want them on this earth to suffer.
I didn't tell my MIkey it was okay for him to go, that"d I'd be okay. Instead during our marriage, I remember asking him to stay with me forever. But at 48 he got the ultimate present of going under God's grace and while he loved me and his kids, the pain and illness he was dealing with would've changed who he was and I know he wouldn't tolerate that. I know he's happy. I also take comfort that each day of our lives, I showed that man how much I loved him (even showed him how much I wanted to strangle him!) but more how much I loved him. And moments before he died in front of me, I was able to say "I'm so glad you're home and I love you so very, very much" and he replied "I love you too".
Its that thought that carries me through the day.
Love to you
Last edited by caringsister54; 02-13-2009 at 05:54 AM.
Your post was so special. I'm so glad for you that you were able to help your Mom and in return she connected with you. Your right.....What a gift.
We told Gram it was OK to go and my FIL who passed away from cancer. He was holding on and suffering. The hospice lady told us to tell him his children would be fine and not to worry. He passed away about 8 hrs. later. It was a hard thing for my husband to say to him. But soon after his body started to shut down. So sad.........at the same time a relief.
Bless you Pam for your kindness, courage, and giving heart. What a special moment for you both. When her time comes she now knows that you will be ok and you know that she will be ok. A tiny squeeze can tranfer so much knowledge. Thank you for sharing this special moment with us. My time will come and I will look back on your courage and grace when the time comes. You and your Mom have had a long journey. Hold on to that little memory. It will be of comfort to you.
I can usually read through our boards here and not shed a tear but instead feel the emotion coming though but not today..today it's hard reading but required for me to remember for when the time comes for me to say good bye to my own sweet mom.
What a beautiful post.....and a moment for you to always cherish with your mom. I dont know if my mom and uncle have done this.....somehow I doubt it, but I think it's important...the only gift you can give at this point for your loved one, is to help them find peace, and you have done that Pam. Your mom is blessed to have you and now when she's ready, she'll know you will be okay.
Is that not a mother's love, true to the end? No matter what this dreaded illness does, it can never be stronger than a mother's love.