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Second Anniversary Week

March 17, 2013

This past week was a very difficult one in so many ways; so many different emotions for so many different reasons.  I have always been taught to not ask God “why” and yet I find myself asking it anyway.  If I don’t say it out loud, it doesn’t count, right? I know we live our lives according to His plan, not ours, but sometimes it is so hard to understand how the plan makes any sense.

On Tuesday of this week, I  attended  the funeral of a 49 year old cousin who died very unexpectedly.  This was twice as sad, because his death came just two months after that of his 55 year old brother.  Two young men – gone much too early. “Why?”

This week also marked the second anniversary of Mom’s move into the secure Alzheimer Unit.  I can remember every detail of March 14, 2011 like it was yesterday.  Those memories are etched forever in my heart.  Mom’s day started with her laughing, and talking happily, as we packed a small bag for an overnight stay at another facility because maintenance needed to repair her furnace.  (This was the story conjured up to get her moved from Assisted Living to her new home.) I watched as her demeanor changed and she realized there was  change happening that she had no control over.  I cried as she told me to get the hell out and leave her alone.

In the past two years, I have watched my Mother change before my very eyes.  She used to tell wonderfully funny stories one minute and then be totally mean and hateful.  She could walk so fast that the nursing staff could barely keep up with her.  She loved to walk the halls and look at all of the pictures, as well as help herself to other people’s candy whenever she could get her hands on it.  She took joy in eating a heavily frosted cupcake, and getting it all over her face, and like any child, absolutely hating to get her face washed.

Today she has to be picked up out of the bed and set into a wheel chair to go to the dining room, where she has to be fed her meals, because she can no longer feed herself.  She sits nearly lifeless for hours on end, jabbering to anyone who will stop to talk to her.  Very few words are understandable, but Mom still likes to laugh.  If she laughs, I laugh with her.

I often wonder what is going on in that head of hers, especially when she is being picked up and put back into bed.  It is with one sweeping motion that Mom goes from sitting in the wheelchair, to a standing  position, then on to lying down.  Mom is holding on with both hands clutching one nurse’s arms, while another one is lifting her feet to the bed.  A slightly audible “whoa,” with eyes showing confusion and maybe a bit of fear, as she is settled into the bed.  She has such a tight grip on the nurse’s arms that her hands have to be literally pried open, very much like my own whenever I ride a roller coaster!  I wonder if that is the same kind of fear that she is feeling?  OR Was that slightly audible sound more of a “wheeee!, rather than a whoaaa?  Who really knows?

This week’s melancholy was compounded by the death of a friend’s mother who has been riding her own Alzheimer’s Roller Coaster for almost as long as we have.  I knew attending that Funeral Mass would be hard, but I had no idea just how hard it would be. I thought I would find comfort along with  another friend whose mother was also a member of our select little group riding this ride.  I was totally shocked to learn that her mother had lost her battle in December, and I was not aware of it.  In December I was totally consumed in my own world of calling in Hospice Care and dealing with dramatic changes in Mom, and oblivious to anything going on outside of it.   I was also dealing with my own health issues as well.

Friday morning I sat in that church crying and asking, “Why?”  Why do some get to take a shorter ride before going to heaven?  Why do some have to be left behind to keep on riding the ups and downs, the twists and turns?   How long does this ride last?

My friend sitting with me said, “God isn’t ready for her yet, there is still a reason or purpose for her to still be with you. He will let you know when your job is completed. You have to look for your purpose”

I started writing this blog and the soon to be published book because I thought by sharing our story, we could help others going through the same hell. Maybe I still have more to witness and learn, maybe there is more to share, that I am not aware of yet.  But that does not make it any easier to watch my beautiful Mother slowly wither away right before my eyes.

  I know I will never understand  why.   

  1. Kay permalink

    When you were a little girl, I remember how your Mommy could just give you a hug, or kiss and that would make eventhing all better, I wish I could do that for you now. But, know this “you are a daughter to be treasured” I pray for God’s wisdom and strength to finish this ride.

  2. Thank you Kay, I have often wished that I could kiss Mom, and make all of her troubles go away like she used to do for me. Sadly, it doesn’t work that way. Her healing kiss will have to come from God. We just watch in wonder as we wait. Love, Carolyn

  3. Dearest friend, I so appreciate you sharing your story. By doing so, you help me grow in compassion and understanding. Life is not easy for anyone, no matter what it looks like on the outside. You are an angel of mercy for your mother, and as you shine your light for her, it spills over on the rest of us. I have learned, too, that we all have to get comfortable with not knowing. This is why it is called faith.

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