June 7, 2021
It’s gratifying to know my Mom’s journey is not in vain. Through her, unintentionally, it's been a vehicle for understanding. Sharing her story has given people the ability to find where they belong in this journey and be at peace with it.
Alzheimer’s is ugly. It’s an individualized disease and I’ve been growing to understand it. Growing up, my Mom was never emotional, affectionate or demonstrative. I always felt like something was missing that I just couldn’t put my finger on. I saw relationships other women had with their mothers and I resented my own relationship with mine. Mom was nice, but she was stoic, so oftentimes my loud and emotional personality was too much for her.
My parents were very private people. They were very isolated. I didn’t know if it was because they were getting older or they just didn't have interest in socializing. It became very clear when all this unfolded my father was hiding what was going on with Mom and was in denial about what was happening.
Mom had wandered out of the house twice within a week. She had no concept of danger, fear or time of day. When we got the call the next morning, she refused to be evaluated, so the Doctor made a house visit and wouldn’t leave until she went. When Mom realized he trumped her it annoyed her so much she went and that was the last time she was home.
“This living is not for me,” was the first thing she said when we got to her new home. It was community living. There was no excitement. She didn’t understand what was happening. When my brother and I realized she was not placed in the proper part of the facility we wondered how on earth she would ever settle in. Big changes are setbacks for those with Alzheimer’s and they never regain that lost territory.
We wondered if we made the right decision. The heart and head don’t always agree, but in the first 24 hours, the staff validated our decision. During lunch the staff relocated Mom to the other unit with the same room set-up in a different wing. When she got to her room after lunch, she never knew the difference. In those moments it was so comforting to see how the staff knew just how to handle the situation. My regular visits soon introduced me to Hunter.
Stay tuned for part two...