I read Nancy Puckett’s Mothers Want Time, Not Pricey Gifts and couldn’t agree more with her sentiments. But what if you are faced with having no time left? I imagine for those of you who have lost mothers recently a commercialized holiday like this must be a bit torturous. This Mother’s Day is bittersweet for me and my siblings also, for a different reason. We’ve all known for years that mom’s memory was shoddy and getting worse. Between the confusion, the frustration, the anger and repeated stories, we all knew that something was wrong. This week I’ve learned that her doctor is now quite concerned after one of us called and explained all the worsening symptoms—including getting lost driving in her home town, leaving the kettle on and almost starting a fire, and sadly, confusing one of her daughters with her sister. Her doctor is now quite sure it is Alzheimer’s. “Early on-set Alzheimer’s,” but Alzheimer’s none the less. So, what does that mean? Drugs can perhaps halt the progression—but none can make her whole again. Perhaps we should have all been more demanding that she sought care five years ago when it was apparent there was a problem? But having a stridently, independent woman as a mom, makes that a difficult task to accomplish.
All we can do now is try to educate ourselves and prepare. How long should she still be allowed to drive? Do we need a home health care nurse? Should one of us move in? Only time will tell.
Right now, I concern myself with being her memory. Writing her family history is something I plan to do on our summer holiday. Making sure my son has fond memories of his grandmother and gets to know her while he can, is also top on my list.
It’s all I can write right now. It’s too raw. I welcome any advice from others—especially those who live far away from parents who are struggling with this debilitating disease.