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


  1. How deeply sad I am to be losing the BB I know and I still enjoy the glimpses of her joyful self. I want to walk and will walk this path with you and Robin, but I can't pretend to feel your pain and the cascade of fears and emotions. I am so sorry...I am here for the duration. Love you, "Awee"

  2. Dear Kat, dear Beano, dear BB, oh how I wish for another, better outcome. That said, Beano and Kat, I honor you for your boundless loving caregiving. And BB, just for being you. But so lucky to have your loving, delightful family. Much love to you all.

  3. Oh Katharine, although this is my first time to your blog, I feel like I already know you. I heard myself in your words. I lost my mom 10 years ago and while it wasn't to Alzheimers, it was to a really long drawn out illness so I totally understand where you are coming from. And I completely agree when you say watching your dad is the hardest part because it was for me, too. Cherish the time you have with her and don't ever feel bad about feeling your different emotions. Let me know if you ever want to talk :)

  4. Next week is the anniversary of my grandmother's passing. I cried reading this thinking of watching my mom last summer. My grandmother was the last of six sister to pass from this and the fear of genetics is so real. I wish I could walk with you. I donated and will keep you and your family in my prayers.

  5. I wish I knew the right words to say, if there even are right words in situations like this. Hang in there. It sounds like you and your Dad are doing the best for your mom. Don't feel guilty for how you feel, it's totally understandable. My husband works in senior living housing so we always do the Alzheimer's walk in DC with one of his facilities and it's such an uplifting fun event. Good luck today!

  6. I found your blog through another and wanted to thank you for your beautiful words. My father was diagnosed last November and I totally understand the devastation. I also understand the pain of watching the other parent (in my case, mom) handle the caregiving responsibilities while I am the one she vents to. I feel helpless, also two hours away, with a toddler and pregnant myself (we are scary similiar!). I visited a counselor at our church here in Charlotte last year after Dad's diagnosis and the one takeaway I got was to consider this time a gift. So many people have loved ones taken without notice, and yet we are given this time, though short in grand scheme of things, to make new memories, take videos, share our children, and enjoy our time together. I cling to this every time I see him and mourn him all over again. So thank you for your words, and for putting my thoughts out there to let me know I'm not alone in this journey. Best wishes on baby girl and hope you will enjoy this gift of time with your mom as well.