Friday, January 27, 2017

5 Years Later...

My last post on this blog was nearly 5 years ago. It was in 2012, and my sweet mother was coming up on her 70th birthday. She is now approaching her 75th, and here's where we—where I—am, now.


When my sister was ill with ovarian cancer, we were continually perturbed with everyone that chimed in, "Oh, you have cancer? Before my father died..." or "Yes, I lost my sister also..." and every other story of everyone you ever knew that died of cancer. While we talked candidly on a daily basis about a prognosis that we dreaded, the stories of YOUR friend dying did little to comfort us. Putting it nicely, we wanted to tackle you.

Oh, I get it. When I'm now presented with a friend or family member that has been diagnosed with cancer, it damn-near kills me not to mention my sister. Hmph! Mention it, I do not—unless I do, accidentally, because from this side, it feels like such a show of solidarity—and then I instantly realize that I need to be tackled.


By the same token, I've no longer wanted to write about my Mother here.

Because there are so many out there, in the early stages. And there are so many good years left, and so much laughter and love to celebrate, and I don't want to be the one to put the fear of God into you about the future.

If you're facing this, now, with a loved one in early stages of Alzheimer's, I—an expert on only one woman with Alzheimer's, that has no idea what you are going through, and so you are invited to tackle me—want to tell you to:


Celebrate what's left. 

Just agree. Don't correct, or teach, or insist, or shame. There's no logic at play here. Roll with it.

Did I say: ROLL. WITH. IT?

Because, Roll with it. 

Sit back. Analyze. You will find utter brilliance in your loved one's substitutions in an attempt to communicate.  My mother once forgot how to tell me she was crying, and instead she told me: "There were tears in my house."

Tune in.  I know you just got off work and raced over to do the dishes and heat up a microwave meal, but there were tears in her house, dude.

Express your amazement. They will rejoice that they discovered a work-around that you never thought about. It's lovely when they're still smarter than you are! Acknowledge that.

Hug. Love. Sing.

Write it down, for God's sake. You're going cling to, and adore every last crazy word you had together. Facebook TimeHop reminds me that we did it right: We held on, baby, and we make the best of it.

And finally:

Do not, for the love of God, read the next couple of posts. Because you do not need this crap right now.


Bookmark them. You might need them in the future...because when MY mother was in the final stages of Alzheimer's....