Mom’s Not Here Anymore

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Writer’s Note – I’ve been on an extended hiatus for about three months.  So, I first want to say “Thank You” to all of you who continue to stop by and check out my blog.  This blog and several to follow have been accumulating in my head for quite a while.

Early September 2014 – My mom broke her hip about 2 weeks ago.  As many people, myself included, remarked, “It was a blessing…”  My mom has suffered from dementia (Alzheimer’s) for more than five years – maybe even longer.  She has not known who I am for at least three years.  As many folks already know, Alzheimer’s is a dreadful disease that completely destroys a person’s ability to function.  Prior to this September, I had not seen my mom in person since October 2013.  The change was dramatic and her decline swift and sad.

She’s now in a nursing home.  My dad can’t take care of her at home, even with occasional outside help.  She’s wheelchair bound…strapped in to ensure that she doesn’t fall.  She’s supposed to be “in rehab,” but she won’t allow anyone to touch her.  She can’t feed herself, but can still – at times – hold a glass of her favorite beverage, “Coke Cola,” which is many times Pepsi.  All normal adult functioning has ceased to exist.  Showering, combing her hair, brushing her teeth, and, of course, going to the bathroom cannot be performed without someone else’s aid.

In happier times….
I feel so sorry for my dad.  So, so sorry for him.  I can’t imagine losing the person you love to this awful disease only to be reminded of your sadness every time you enter “the home.”  (Now called a “total care facility.”)  He’s had an incredible amount of stress and strain in his life, and my mom’s “slide” into oblivion is just one more kick in the gut.  My relationship with her has always been strained, and I “lost” her several years ago when she confronted me outside by their pool and demanded to know who I was and why I was staying in their house.  I left the next day for Memphis.

After spending several days at the nursing home with her, I made a pledge to myself that I simply never want to be like that.  It is so sad to see people who are nothing more than “bodies” that are just existing.  Given my current situation, I probably won’t live long enough to worry about my mind deteriorating, but I just can’t help thinking why we keep the elderly – especially those who can no longer function – hanging on as long as we do?

Anyway….thanks for listening.