Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Blog 9: What Do We Do Now?

So now we find out our mom has Alzheimer’s.  It was June of 2009.  This was just devastating to me and my four sisters.  I have to say that when we first got the diagnosis, some of us questioned if it was really true.  As I said in my last post, Mom ended up in the hospital with virtually no blood pressure, because it was determined she overdosed on her medication.  She was taking blood pressure medicine, heart medicine, and pain medication.  Mom was getting confused on her medication but she would not let us help her with it.  We had suspected she may be taking it, then forgetting she took it, and then take it again.  And that is exactly what she was doing, until she almost killed herself.  We wanted to believe that if we could monitor her medication, then she wouldn’t be having all the memory problems she was having.  Maybe that’s all it was, we were hoping. 

We knew that if our mom had Alzheimer’s, we were heading down a long, challenging, and very, very sad road.  We knew that because our Dad passed away just four years prior of DLB…dementia with Lewy Bodies.  My sisters and I were scared to death, to say the least.  How could we loose both of our parents to a dementia type illness?  It’s not fair!!!  Dad was only 72 years old.  When he was diagnosed, we had never heard of that disease before.  We found that even some of the nurses didn’t know what it was.  It is a different kind of dementia that progresses more quickly.  I would say that our Dad passed away just two years after his diagnosis.  He was living at his home up until the last couple of months of his life.  It was so awful seeing his body and mind succumb to that horrific disease.  And when Dad passed, all of his kids were at his bedside, except Renee, who lived in another state.  Even my mom was there, along with my Dad’s wife.  I am very grateful that we were with him as he went on to heaven. 

Dad and us girls became very close as the years went on.  We built some wonderful memories, and I am so grateful for that.  He was always pretty tough on us when we were kids, but he mellowed a lot over the years.  And when he became ill, I absorbed all that I could and learned as much as I could about Dad before his memory would be taken from him.  I bet every time we got together he would cry.  I know he loved us very much, and we loved him very much.  I miss him terribly.

Soon after Mom’s diagnosis, and after the doctor told us Mom shouldn’t be alone any longer, my sisters and I got together and had a family meeting at Lynda’s house.  The hospital agreed to keep Mom a couple of days longer until we had a plan in order.  We all sat down, and I could sense the fear and sadness in my sisters’ eyes.  I was feeling it, too.  How could we survive without our mom?  She was our rock, our glue that held the family together.  We loved her more than life itself.  What do we do now?  That meeting went pretty good, I guess, even though we had some differences of opinions about how to proceed forward.  We all expressed ourselves with much emotion.  We sort of had a plan to put into action.  This meeting, even though it was our first, was also to be our last family meeting.  Because little by little, we all literally fell apart.  One by one, piece by piece, our sisterhood was shattered. 


  1. Lizzie, your compelling story is making me realize how different it is to have a parent or spouse diagnosed with Alzheimer's, dementia...etc.
    When a spouse is diagnosed, the husband or wife is there to be the caretaker.

    I'd never thought how hard it would be for children caring for parents who live in separate homes and cities.
    Keeping you and your family in my prayers.

  2. You continue to tell your story with such feeling and insight. It breaks a person's heart. I know you have been through hell and back again and I appreciate more than you know your honesty and openness. God bless.

  3. As heart-wrenching as your story has been so far, the last three sentences of this post are the saddest. I pray that this writing will be healing for you, and I am praying hard that it will also begin the process of healing, forgiveness and reconciliation for all of you.

  4. Oh no! Your family seems so close... How could this be the last meeting? That is terrible news :o(