Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Charlotte Walk to End Alzheimer's

I have a touch of emotional writer's block this year when it comes to Alzheimer's. I wrote a wonderful post you can read here last year.

The truth of the matter is that Mom has progressed. She has progressed to the point that we have had friends tell us they can now notice changes from just July. We welcome these comments because they validate and acknowledge what we already know and feel...that we are losing her. For awhile most people would be polite and say she seems fine, maybe a tad spacey. But it is so much more than that. The things my father goes through on a daily basis would blow your mind. I have always been close to my Dad. We are the same person. We like schedules, traditions, order, good times and everything to always be the way it was.

Things are not the way they were and are quickly declining. Watching this happen to my father is harder than watching it happen to my mother. I don't know how to articulate that, it just is. I am two hours away but very pregnant and I wish I could do more. My Dad is my best friend and he is utilizing all caregiver resources possible and it is still not enough. He has always done the lion's share of running a household but my mother made it all more beautiful. Holidays were grand with amazing food because of Dad but our house looked and smelled gorgeous because of Mom.

I don't have any rosy words about Alzheimer's today. I joined a group on Facebook called Memory People and I might have to hide it from my feed until after baby girl is here. Sometimes it is just TOO MUCH.

There are wonderful days. Silly moments like her eye cream incident I posted awhile back or moments when she is singing every word to Fleetwood Mac at the top of her lungs at our buddy's J.Sam's Bar. She is still my mother, but ever so slightly.

As I prepare to bring a baby girl into this world the parallels of me being a mother to a little girl are not lost on me. I am scared to death of inheriting this disease. I am scared I won't be able to understand what is happening when my children have children. I envy my brother's kids because they got to know BB well before Alzheimer's inhabited her brain.

I've said it before but it is the one piece of advice that has stuck with me. I feel guilty for this sadness. I feel guilty for wishing she was different and for not accepting who she is now. My Doctor here in Charlotte told me that every time I see my Mom it will be like mourning her all over again. I will still expect her to be the mother that always showed up at my door with hugs and flowers and stories, but it will always be somebody else...and that sadness I experience is not selfish or guilty, it is grief.

If you have read this today I thank you. If you have donated I thank you. And if you would like to come out and walk with my parents and I we will be at Symphony Park at 9:45 am near the right side of the stage. It should be a beautiful and joyous occasion as the walk is to celebrate and raise money to End ALZ. I promise to be light-hearted and silly (and possibly might  take a short-cut through the route). Here is the link to my walk page.

I will leave you with what I said last year:
Lauren Miller (Seth Rogen's wife) put it best. She said that we are at the point in life where most women become best friends with our mothers. We ask them for parenting advice, we swap stories of marriage, breastfeeding, daycare, being a working mother. If you are currently in this stage with your mother love it and cherish it. Take her out to lunch. Take her out for a pedicure. Soak up every ounce of wisdom and love she is giving you. 

A Daughter, a Mother, and a Caregiver

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