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The past couple of weeks have been an emotional roller coaster for me and my adopted family.

alzheimers_disease_do_you_know_who_i_am_3My best friend of 50+ years has moved to Texas with her husband and her mom, my second mom, has now been moved to an assisted living facility because of Alzheimer’s disease.

I am grateful to this family for so many reasons. I am grateful for a friendship that has lasted through every phase of our lives since grade school to the present and her mom who stepped in to comfort me when I lost my own mom.

My second mom, also widowed gave me a place to live and the time to heal after my husband passed away when I just couldn’t seem to get it together and go on.

I gave her the friendship she needed since her husband died and her children had their own busy lives to lead.

alzheimers_disease_do_you_know_who_i_am_2We were good for each other for 5 years and 11 months. As the fifth child in a family of eleven children, she was not used to being alone but the disease was taking her strength away from her.  The daily trips out of the house were getting less and less.

For the last 5 years, 11 months I’ve watched the silent disease called Alzheimer’s take her away from us, little by little each day.

As a dear friend who comforted me many times told me, “She’s like a two year old child again and you have to realize and accept she is not the mommy anymore. You are in charge now and you have to remember she has no control over what she says and does and she doesn’t remember from one second to the next what you said or even what she said.”

Thank you, Mae Kelm for the many hours of support and conversation you went through to get us through this time of our lives.

You were also one who was there for me when my husband Rea died 8 years ago. I am grateful and thankful that I met you.

After many months of ups and downs, I finally realized I had done all I could do for mom in this phase of her disease. Each day was something different and I was just someone who loved her and I was not trained to handle the daily occurrences in a way that would keep us from becoming so frustrated and agitated with each other.

I came into this situation not realizing what was ahead for either of us. I now believe and completely 100% agree that you need to have training on how to deal with a loved one who has Alzheimer’s disease.

There also comes a time when you have to say, “I can’t do this anymore. It’s not good for either of us.” Tension is high, the stress is increased, frustrations are all jumbled up into a mass of emotions.

I am physically and mentally exhausted.  In some ways, she’s the lucky one, because she doesn’t remember that I got upset with her for not knowing how to do simple things she has done for herself for over 80 years.

That’s the guilt that I have to live with, along with the feeling that I let her and the family down by giving up and saying we have to let her go so she can receive care from trained professionals. She needs to be safe and I’m so afraid my care will not keep her safe.

alzheimers_disease_do_you_know_who_i_amIt is so very hard to look at a sweet and dear woman who has been a mother figure to you for so many years come to you and ask, “Do you know who I am?”

So last week I hugged and said goodbye to my best friend and this week, I hugged and said goodbye to my second best friend and mom as she moves away.

The feelings are bittersweet. Many times over the last few months I have thought that I can keep her here with me but I know that’s not possible now. It would only be relieving some of my guilt but not doing what is best and safe for her.

Somewhere deep in the recesses of her mind Marybelle knows I love her and always will. I will always cherish and remember the laughs and good times we had before the Marybelle we all knew and loved was slowly taken away from us.

alzheimers_disease_do_you_know_who_i_am_4God Bless You dear lady; mom and friend. I will say a prayer for you each night that you will live the rest of your days being silly and having fun in the place you were born and grew up with your sisters and brothers.

I have missed my online work and my online friends and I do look forward to coming back to work but I will be taking a much needed 5 or 6 days to just rest, regroup and vegetate a little. 

I plan to be back working full time online on Monday, November 14, 2016

 

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