Monday, September 3, 2012

Blog 43: The Twisted Fate of Alzheimer's

Upon The Heart Our Story Is Told

When I was little you held me in your arms, and I felt your heart beating against my body.  I’m sure you felt my heart beating, too.  It's the heartbeat of love, that which is only felt by mother and child.  Now I hold your frail body in my arms and feel your heart beating against my body.  Upon the heart our story is told. 

I looked into your eyes and studied your beautiful face, and your voice soothed me.
Now I look into your eyes and see sadness, distance, and fear, and I use my voice to try and soothe you.  I do my best, but I don’t know if it’s working.  

My whole life you comforted me.  You wouldn’t let anyone hurt me and if anyone did, you took care of it and made me feel better.  I still need you, Mom.  I have to find new ways to be comforted by you.  But it’s more important for me to comfort you, and I will strive to bring you comfort every opportunity I can.

When I was weak you picked me up.  You helped me to be stronger and you showed me the way.  You are weak now Mom, and I will pick you up and show you the way.

You held my hand as a child, and protected me from harm.  I will hold your hand now and not let you fall.  I will protect you from harm.

You were so smart, so brave, and so strong to raise five daughters on your own.  You were a fighter.  I will fight for you now, Mom.   With God’s help, I will be brave and strong.

You could sense if anything was bothering me, and you would call me to see if everything was ok.  Now I do that to you, Mom.  If I sense something, I pick up the phone and call you.  I just need to hear your voice and know you are ok. 

Even in your darkest times, and I know you had some when I was growing up, you put your daughters’ happiness ahead of your own.  You put on a happy face so we wouldn’t worry.   But I could always see through that happy face.  I could see your tears.  I learned how to do that from you, Mom.  I’m putting on a happy face.  Can you see my tears?  I hope not. 

You used to be able to spot me in a crowded auditorium.  You could hear my cries on the playground, and you even said you could hear me (over everyone else) play my flute in concert band.  Your eyes and ears were keen.  Now I need to stand close to you and say something in order for you to recognize me.  Your mind doesn’t know me but your heart does.  It never forgets.  You know me as the one with the long, dark curly hair.  But you also know my name, and that makes me smile.  Sometimes I think you remember I’m your daughter.  The other day you even remembered I played the flute.  It seemed like you did, anyway.

You used to tell me stories about your childhood and mine.  Now you have forgotten almost all of that, and I am telling you stories that you don’t remember.   I will hold all of those memories for you, Mom, for as long as I can.  And if the day comes that I will forget, my kids will carry on those memories for us.  I'm sure some of them will get lost along the way.

You used to laugh at jokes until you had tears in your eyes.  I loved your laugh and the stories we used to tell.   We had some really fun times.  Now it’s hard to laugh over anything when I am with you, though I do laugh if something funny happens, and so do you.  Now my tears flow more readily.  I cry when I see you because I am happy to see you, yet sad to see you like this.  I cry when I leave you because I don’t know what you’ll be like the next time I see you.   I’m always hoping I can say something funny to make you laugh. 

All of our lives we struggled financially, but you made us feel wealthy.  You spared us from the details.  You sheltered us from stress, but you didn’t succeed in doing that with me.  As the oldest, I saw too much and I bore too much at such a young age.  It wasn’t your fault, Mom.  You did the best you could.  Now I am the person I am because of that.  I don’t know if I’m too strong or too weak.   I do not consider myself a victim; I am a survivor.  You always told me that, and you know me best.  Your words have always been the most loving words said to me.

When we were young we had all the time in the world.  Time to have fun, time to waste, time to do this or that.   We don’t have time on our side anymore.  Time is slipping away and stealing everything.   I promise you Mom, I will never let a day go by wasted.  I will live my life with grace and dignity, and honor you forever.  I will try to be as happy as I can, because I know that is what you would want for me.  I will steer clear from negativity, for I know that life is way too short.  I will always fill my days with thoughts of you, no matter what I am doing, and I will continue to pray that we will have more time with you.  

You hated goodbyes.  It was always hard to say goodbye to you when we were going to be apart for even a few days.  Now we are living with the longest, most painful, goodbye we could have ever imagined.  You are etched in my soul, my mom, my mom forever.  You are visible in everything I do.  Your face is always there.  Your voice is always there.  Your laughter is always there.  So is your Alzheimer’s now.  It’s always there.  Nobody should have to go through this alone.  Thank God you don’t understand what is happening.  Thank God you don’t have to say goodbye to us.

God, please give me strength, give me hope, give me peace, and let me feel your presence in my life.  Don’t take my mom until I am strong enough to say goodbye. 


  1. Lizzie, That was very touching. Thank you!

  2. Hi – Will you please post a link to your important Blog at The Alzheimer’s Community at Our members will really appreciate it.
    Members include: Those living with Alzheimer’s, their families, friends, caregivers and support groups.
    It's easy to do, just cut and paste the link and it automatically links back to your website. You can also add Articles, Photos, and Videos if you like.
    Email me if you need any help or would like me to do it for you. I hope you consider sharing with us.
    The Alzheimer’s Community:
    James Kaufman, Editor

  3. This is so touching. I love your blog.