Saturday, February 19, 2011

Hey, Memory Thief..Leave My Mother Alone

The light cascades through the blinds, falls across my bed, another new day beckons. I'm not ready to get up so I roll over, turning away from the window, yank the covers up a little closer to my chin and lie their thinking about what this day will entail. I know that it will consist of the usual chores, duties and time spent with my mom but I wonder what else might make its way into my day, just to shake me up. Feeling rather comfy, I cannot bring myself to throw off the covers just yet, so I say a quick prayer that God will watch over my granddaughter (teenage years can be so horrible), ask God to keep my daughter and her family in Canada safe and give me the ability to care for my mom with patience because I know she isn't quite herself anymore.
Well, I can linger no longer so I slide off the bed and head for the kitchen to get my coffee then down to visit my mom while she has her breakfast. She is still somewhat independent and manages to fix her own coffee, although I could do it, I think it's important for her to do as much as possible for herself. We talk about mundane things while she fixes herself breakfast. I have stocked her kitchen with easy to fix meals, toaster sandwiches, pastries, cereal, muffins, French toast, all of which she seems to have no trouble preparing. So as she fixes her meal we discuss how she slept, what to expect of the weather for the day, her medications and what’s on TV today. TV has become a huge part of her life since she doesn’t seem to be able to comprehend anything that requires concentration. Add to that the fact that she wears a brace on her leg, which gives her balance issues and you might understand why what’s on the telly is important to her.
So, for the next two hours, we watch television, this has become our routine, after which I go back upstairs while she takes her shower, makes her bed and gets dressed. Soon enough I’ll be back in her living room but only after I am able to get a few things accomplished myself. Such is the life of a full time caregiver whose mom is in the early stages of Alzheimer’s.

Each day it seems she is slipping deeper into this disease that is stealing her memories, making her more childlike, and making me the mother figure. How, did this happen and where is my mother? Where's the woman who raised me, the woman who stayed up with me nights when I had the croup, chased me with a broom for mimicking her, as children like to do, and when she caught me we would burst out laughing because we both knew she wasn't really going to hit me. My mom, the woman who raised seven children on a very small income, the beautiful young mother who never looked her age or like she had given birth to so many babies, where is she? Where's the mom who would let me sneak downstairs to watch The Fugitive with her after the rest of the kids were in bed? That was our special memory, ours alone. I will always cherish that, though it may not seem like much to some, to me it meant for a little while I had my mom all to myself. Once a week, Tuesday night, The Fugitive starring David Jansen, that was our night, our special night.

The last few weeks she seems to be having episodes of confusion a bit more often. It is sad to see and at times causes quite a strain on both of us but we get through it, we get through it, with love. I know at eighty five this disease will probably take her sooner then I would like but until then I’ll be her mom for awhile. I’ll sit up with her if she needs me and, yes, I will mimic her because it still makes her laugh. I will always be her daughter even when she can no longer remember my name. For now she knows me and that is good enough.

Father, you are omniscient. Your purposes are not our own nor can we understand why our loved ones have to suffer or why we have to watch their slow decline but we trust in you and your plan for their lives. You are a merciful God, loving and full of grace. We honor, praise and glorify your holy name. Lord, forgive me for the sin in my life, I fail you every day. In my mind, my words or my actions I let you down daily and I need your grace renewed in me everyday, everyday. On my own I am helpless, hopeless and on a course of destruction, only you can keep me on the straight and narrow path. Prone to wander, yes that’s me Lord, I need you to help me, to guide and direct me. Your name is above all names; there is no one like you. Thank you for your goodness and mercy, it is so much more then I deserve. Help me to take the plank out of my own eye before pointing out the splinter in someone else’s. Father, you know the heavy burdens in my heart for my family, for Taylor, for Chris, for Caterina, for Laura, for my siblings and the situation there, work in all of their lives to bring about healing. Work in mine so that I would forgive those who have wronged me and seek forgiveness from those I have wronged.

Give us wisdom in trying times
to know which path to take
Give us hope in time of need
a reason for to wake
Guide us with a gentle hand
when at times we go astray
and keep us from destruction
when pride gets in our way
Give us clear direction, Lord
when we know not what to do
so that even when we falter
we’ll turn right back to you.
Give us not what we deserve
Hold back your wrath, I pray
and let your love and mercy
descend on us today

In the name of your precious Son I pray, AMEN


  1. The light cascades through the blinds, falls across my bed, another new day beckons ..... thinking about what this day will entail...

    Written by my christian sweetie and wife, my poet and wordsmith, a care giver and one who also needs care, both mother and child, and my best friend -- the night owl who posted this at 3:46 am ET.

    Don't think I'll awaken buttercup just yet!!!!

  2. Now, is that a smart man or what? Thanks sweetie, just couldn't sleep last night.