Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Six Months

My beautiful mother died six months ago. I wish I could say it has gotten easier, but if anything, life has gotten so much harder. 

The moment she died... and every second leading up to her funeral.... was planning. And in some crazy way it was enthusiastic planning about a celebration we knew was coming. The Jambalaya was on the stove, the friends on the road, her monogrammed napkins ordered. We were able to see so many people that she loved and in return felt their love for her. We reminisced, toasted, cried, laughed. It was absolutely perfect.

And then I came home.

And then the days and months that followed became quiet, and lonely, and I became angry. I don't have any new BB stories, videos, pictures. The amount I have is finite. I can't hold her hand, stroke her hair, see that almost distant twinkle in her eye. Read a text, or an email, or hear a voicemail. I only have one recording of her voice singing "Show me the Way to go Home". I can't hear her mutter I love you one last time. Amelie will point at her picture and say, "your Mommy is in heaven." 

This disease manifested itself in my mother's brain and slowly, over the course of seven years, ripped every shred of her being away. 

It began with little things, missing words, getting lost, paranoia seeping in. 

Then major paranoia, inability to do simple things, anger, lots of anger at loved ones. Mostly loved ones. 

Then it took away her freedoms. To drive, to work, to type, to read. To garden, to dance, to play solitaire.

Then it took away her basic necessities. To speak, to hug, to walk, to talk. To recognize us.

Alzheimer's doesn't hold back. It will dissolve every single molecule that built the person you loved. It will make you watch as they can no longer use the bathroom, as they entertain crazy fears in their brains. As they blame you for the most ridiculous things. As they forget who they are, who you are, what anything is for. They will drink hand sanitizer, they will wash their hands in the toilet, they will blame things broken in the house on bears. BEARS.

I watched this disease do this to my Mom. I watched even before her official diagnosis in 2011. I watched after diagnosis as her test numbers went down, as her dependencies went up, as we lost her day by day and second by second.

She was taken from us not by a Tsunami but a slow eroding merciless tide and we were helpless. 

I miss her every single day. I miss her so much now with the holidays coming. I can't go into a HomeGoods without sobbing at the seasonal decor. I need her in this rough exhausting phase of motherhood/wifehood/livelihood. How did she do it all? How did she do it all with a smile on her face and fresh flowers in the house? How did she always look beautiful and smell like Chanel? What was her secret? What did she not get to tell me about how hard and wonderful her late 30's/early 40's were? 

It is unfair what this disease did to her. And to us. And to the entire community of people that loved her. She should be here, letting Gumbo up on her bed. Dancing with my father on their deck, helping me decorate for the holidays or just hugging me. Holding my hand. Stroking my hair. She should be at Jazzercise with her friends, at Thanksgiving at Chipmunk Hill. I miss her touch. The soothing touch of a mother to let you know it will all be okay.

She should be here. And Alzheimer's took her from us. 

There is still no cure. And still no prevention. This is why I walk and why I obnoxiously ask for money every single year. I won't stop until there is a cure. 

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