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