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The Long Goodbye

Yesterday, I was given an article about a mother with Dementia written by Britt Kennerly from Florida Today called "The Long Goodbye." I've read a good chunk of it, but after just spending a week with my mom, it hits too close to home. I have to pace myself. I thought I knew when I found out that my mom's Alzheimer's was progressing quickly that it would be a tough road for those who care about and for her. I had no idea. Much respect to my dad who is with mom 24/7 taking care of her. I'm sad to say that while she had her good moments, there wasn't much lucidity there. She can have fun, smile, laugh, joke. But it never lasts. Those moments are gone in a flash. When she's tired, she becomes irritable. And while I know that it isn't her fault, I had my own moments of sadness and irritation when she would cry about wanting to go home. Or she would tell me that she didn't want to visit with me or stay with me. You see, though she knows who I am, she sometimes forgets WHAT I am to her. She forgets I'm her daughter or that she raised me. I can't forget that she raised me, and that makes me want to do what I can for her now. I want to help take care of her. I only had a week with her and I realized that my desire to care for her would take more than just love. It would take patience, understanding, humility, thick skin, strength and a LOT of help. There's no downtime except when she's sleeping. I thank my dad for having all of the above with exception to the last one. He's doing this by himself. We live in different states, so I can't physically help him as much as I would love to. I'm working to raise money to help them with medical and living expenses. I'm organizing a fundraiser to raise awareness and money. While that's stressful, it's nowhere near what my dad does and nowhere near enough. Not from what I've seen in just a week. They're coming back in a month and I'm hoping to talk them into staying longer. I want this time with my mom and I want to be able to be there for my dad. Whatever happens, I will continue to do my best until ...

This quote from the article is the first paragraph. And it sums up quite a bit. "I wish you’d met my mother before dementia swooped into her head and started pecking away, like the buzzards that used to circle over our farm in Kentucky, honing in on vulnerable prey."

If you had known my mom before Alzheimer's you'd understand my sadness, my anger, my need to DO SOMETHING. She wasn't just MY mom, she was everyone's mom. She wasn't just a woman, she was Wonder Woman. We didn't get along every single moment of every single day (no one does) but our love never wavered. She sacrificed so much so that I could become the woman I am today. If you had known my mom before...

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