We were gifted a rare interaction with Mom this week. When we called to video conference, Mom was alert and communicative. Though she reserved her best endearments for the staff with whom she interacts in her facility, she actually followed our conversation and nodded along with us when we sang to her. She told us she loved us. And as we were saying goodbye, she spoke directly to my dad and said, “Bye bye, Darling.” How is it that such a small thing can buoy our emotions so c
My brother Simon is arriving this Friday for a two-week visit! I am so excited to see him, and also a little trepidatious—he has not seen Mom since she moved to the closed Alzheimer’s ward. Simon has spoken to her by video chat quite often, and he gets daily updates from Daddy about how she’s doing. But this will be his first in-person visit. I hope it will not be too much of a shock. I was with Simon in California when Mom was first moved in May. I sobbed achingly and mournf
I am constantly surprised by what a foul mouth Mom has developed. This sweet-natured woman who taught me to watch my manners and never accepted swear words in her house now swears with abandon. I know this is the effect of Alzheimer’s. The language control centers of the brain are impacted adversely by dementia so that Mom has trouble choosing her words. Her sentences are strung together haphazardly as she often can’t explain what she really means. Alzheimer’s also affects th
I blame myself. I blame my cell phone. These phones suck us in and divert our attention. That's why I missed Mom when she came out of the bathroom. We were having lunch at our favorite restaurant, The Vineyard, overlooking the Mediterranean. Mom had already downed three glasses of lemonade that we'd thinned with water even before the main course arrived—because she drinks a lot and complains that water has no taste—. She'd ordered the mushroom quiche. My dad was with us, too.
“See you next year,” Mom would say as she tucked us in on December 31. Implied was the promise of something new, an optimism about the future, of life being different when we awoke on the first day of the new year. Year’s end is coming round again, and we are spiraling downwards into unknown territory. Mom is less mentally acute. She is less able physically. In contrast, I am more accepting of Mom’s quirky behavior, more open to caring for her. Today, as we were crossing the