Monday, March 25, 2013

Blog 65: I Miss The Way It Used To Be

When I called for my mom, her caregiver woke her from a nap and handed her the phone.  Mom started crying when she heard my voice.   I asked her why she was crying and she told me she didn’t know.  But I could clearly sense that something was bothering her.  I told her I love her and I miss her and she said she loves me and misses me too.

Throughout our brief conversation my mom went in and out of crying.  I tried to cheer her by telling her that I will see her soon and that her great grandson can’t wait to come see her, too.  That made Mom giggle a little bit.  She just loves the little ones, and talking about them always seems to cheer her up.  

I named everyone’s names and told Mom we all love her very much, and I said I wish we could all hop on a bus and come see her and take her to the park.  She cried again.  I told Mom to be happy and I could hear her caregiver, who was helping Mom with the phone, tell her to not be sad.  Mom kept saying she’s not sad, but her crying indicated to me that she was.  I just can’t help but wonder what is on her mind.  I wish she could tell me.

I’ve noticed a pattern of behavior with my mom whenever she awakens suddenly.  She appears to be coherent right away, and it’s almost like she doesn’t have Alzheimer’s.  She sometimes says things that completely take me by surprise.  She’ll say a complete sentence, or she’ll mention someone’s name that she hasn’t said in a long time.  She usually seems more emotional and nurturing then, too. 

It’s so hard to describe, but I’m wondering if a person with Alzheimer’s has a section of their brain that is protected, and when they are in a deep sleep, this part of the brain is activated.  I’ve seen this type of behavior in my mom many times after she wakes from sleeping.  I wonder if she dreams the way we all do, and then when she wakes up, she almost feels and acts normal until she becomes fully awake, and the reality of Alzheimer’s comes back.  I tried to find some information about this online but couldn’t find anything. 

As far as my sisters…I called Kathy while she was at work the other day, because I knew that was the only way I could talk to her.  She usually doesn’t answer when I call her mobile phone.  I was surprised to hear how happy she was to hear my voice.  She commented on how long it’s been since we’ve talked and I told her she doesn’t answer when I call her.  I asked her if she was mad at me because she never calls.  She said she’s not mad at me, and she explained she has a lot going on in her life and her way of handling things is to keep to herself.  She said she doesn’t call anyone.   I told her I love her and I am always going to be there for her.  I expressed my sadness in not having my sisters to talk to during these difficult times with Mom’s illness.  I said we need each other now more than ever.  Kathy agreed with me, but still, I don’t see that things are going to change.  

I realized after talking to Kathy that the distance I feel from my sisters is probably due in part to the things they have going on in their own own lives.  It’s not about me.  It’s about them.  I need to stop taking it personally, letting my feelings get hurt, and losing sleep over it, even though I can't help but miss the way it used to be.


  1. That is interesting about how your Mom is when waking. My Mom is the opposite...very disoriented and confused. My Mom is the most "normal" at bedtime with the lights out...AND sometimes on the phone. Something about taking the visual away makes her more cognizant...very weird. If I am away(rare as I live with her)and call, often when she hears my voice, she will say things we've not heard in always catches me off guard and I wish I had recorded it. Your sibling situation is common but sad. Each one tries to cope as best they can. Some like us, don't have the luxury of pretending it's not true as we face it daily(up close and personal). Others prefer to hold onto memories and not face this new reality. I prefer to LOVE abundantly for each day Mom is here with us so I have NO REGRETS! God bless your journey.

  2. My mother's doctor told me that because her behavioral filters have deteriorated she now has "emotional incontinence". She sobs at the drop of a hat and then the next minute might chuckle then scream.

  3. While Alzheimer's patients suffer from increasing short-term memory loss, they often still retain much of their long-term memory. One of the best ways to engage with Alzheimer's sufferers in the early to middle stages is to ask them to tell you stories from their past. It is enjoyable and calming for them and usually very interesting for the listener.

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