Sunday, September 29, 2013

My Mom Has Alzheimer's

My mom has Alzheimer's. We never talk about it because it is scary. We never talk about it because if we did, we would be admitting that Alzheimer's is her truth. We would be admitting that it is our truth. And we would be admitting that we are scared to death.

My uncle, who is a Catholic priest, also has Alzheimer's. Recently, he got on a plane to go visit friends and when his plane landed, he wandered through the airport unsure of where he was, why he was there, and who he had gone there to visit. Eventually, employees of the airport helped him piece his story together and helped him reach his friends.

My grandfather, who died over ten years ago, lived his last days in a nursing home, suffering from Alzheimer's. I remember the last time he came to my parents' for dinner before he moved to the nursing home. He didn't remember me. My dad explained that I was his granddaughter but he looked at me with fear in his eyes, trembling on the couch. He had no memory of me at all.

A lot of people think it is ridiculous that I go to my parents' house nearly every day. But someday, she is going to get lost. And someday she is not going to remember me. So while she's still of relatively sound mind, I am going to spend as much time with my mom as I can. I might come out of the other side of this completely alone. But it will have been completely worth it.

We never talk about the Alzheimer's. We just pretend that life is as it always was and that it will always be this way. I hate that this is our truth. And I am more scared than I have ever been in life about the toll this disease will take on our family. But it has given me perspective. And it has given me a relationship with my parents like I have never had.

My mom has Alzheimer's.

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