This is a guest post written by my Big Sister. We are recognizing National Alzheimer's Disease Awareness Month here at Mom of the Perpetually Grounded. My sister took on living with my mom after my father passed away and was the closest witness to her decline for several years. She took on this job while maintaining a career as a police detective. Two of the most stressful jobs on the face of the earth.
She has done Tremendous work in both jobs.
So I bring you: The Most Awesome Big Sister; the Mighty Ms.K. (the one with the really cool suede boots)
In Memory of our Mom
I was the strong one and the one with no husband, or children. The one who helped when Daddy died, the one who took you back into my life after living alone for so many years. The last couple of years were the hardest….and I broke.
I was the nice stranger who cared for you, I was your sister you grew up with, but somehow never your daughter. You would look at me with those blue eyes and study my face, looking for some clue of who I was, looking for someone or something familiar. Tears would well up in your eyes as you realized you did not know where you were, or when, or how you were got there. Today it was 1942 and you were looking for your mom. Ten minutes later, it was 1983 and you were looking for my Daddy. It was then 1968 and you were looking for Johnny, “where is he, he should be home by now from school”.
We had more visitors from deceased family members than the ones who were living. They were not able to cope with what had happen to you. Alzheimer's. 8 years of sometimes slow, sometimes rapid decline. Then you would just sit and your eyes told me you were now somewhere else, another time and place I did not know. You no longer played the piano, playing the same song over and over again. You could not read a book, you could not even have a conversation anymore that made any sense.
Then sometimes, suddenly like a breeze across my face, you would look at me, know who I was and seemed to say…..I am still in here somewhere, I love you, thank you for still being here with me. Then just as suddenly you were gone again.
You were like a child. You would get so scared. I would hold you while you cried and it made me cry. I tried to make you feel safe. All the sleepless nights, finding you dressed, packed and ready to go, the searches for people who were no longer with us. The terror of suddenly finding yourself in a place and time you did not recognize.
I did as much as I could, but I was getting broken and I had to let you go. It broke my heart to leave you where they could care of you in ways I could not do any more. You died 4 months later.
I still grieve you. I miss you.
If you are a caregiver to a parent or family member with Alzheimers…not matter how strong you are, you can not do it alone. Don’t believe that you will be able to. You will break.
To the Mom of the Perpetually Grounded……Thank you for helping me get fixed again. I love you.
Luv Ya Back Mighty Ms. K.
If you are a Caregiver for an Alzheimers's patient you can visit alz.org to take the Caregiver Stress Check or find Caregiver Support in your area.
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