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Please tell your Mom you love her

GregT

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All,

I just came back from visiting my sweet mother in her new care facility and it just breaks my heart. She is only 71 but has had Alzheimer's since she was 62. It has progressed to its final stages and the deterioration is dramatic. She has ephasia, meaning that she can no longer make a sentence, and poor thing, she is no longer there. She recognizes me as a familiar, friendly face, but she doesn't know who I am or that I am her son.

I take a Bible and we sit together and I read it to her. She just listens to my voice and she smiles alot but when she talks its just random words. She is one the kindest, sweetest ladies I have ever known, and its a real tragedy.

My Dad worked hard until age 65 and then retired to enjoy the good life with his life long companion. Two years later, she was diagnosed and his retirement hasn't been the golden years that he hoped.

So....please call your Mom and tell her you love her (and Dad too). We never know what life is bringing our way.

Sorry for the downer....but I'm so happy now I never missed an opportunity to tell either one of them that I loved them -- and I still tell them both every time.

Best to all,

Greg
 
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vacationhopeful

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Greg,
Been there with my mom, too. She had 4 daughters and only I was within 100 miles (the furtherest was 3,000 miles away). Her face would show fear when any adult person came near her. I took to just saying, "Hi Mom, it is me, your FAVORITE daughter". Her face would brighten and the fear melted away.

And yet after 8+ years of that hidious illness with the prior 16 months in a nursing home, I had taken her to the beauty salon and parked in the driveway of her home for 45 years. She tugged on the door and said just one word several times. "IN". My dad came out and shared that flicker of recognition with her.

She passed away in her sleep 2 weeks later.
 

pjrose

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Greg, what a nice post. My mom's long gone, but I think I'll forward it to my kids.
PJ
 

chellej

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Yes I think that the recognition is there deep down... after 3 years in a nursing home I couldn't take it any longer and brought my mom home to take care of her. She had long ago not been able to vocalize my name but on the day I brought her home I was getting her out of the car and putting her in her wheelchair and she wrapped her arms around my neck and said "I love you Nurse"...... I was "nurse" for the last year of her life....but that was ok.
 

joycapecod

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These posts have brought tears to my eyes. I lost my mom when I was 39 and she 71. She had been ill for many, many years and passed from congestive heart failure. She had her mind, but her body failed her. My dad went four years later..... that was over 20 years ago. I miss them every single day.

Thank you for sharing.

Joy
 

Fern Modena

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Greg,
You are right about saying I love you. Jerry use to call me at work every morning, and I always ended the conversation with "I love you." If I didn't get the phone when he called, my coworker would answer and say to me, "Its 'I love you' on the phone."

It is good that you have found a good thing to do while visiting her, reading the bible to her. She's happy to hear your voice. Old music, whether on the radio or CDs also is something people with ALZ enjoy. Even though she doesn't know exactly who you are, and may not remember your visit later, she enjoys them whle you are there, I am sure. I discovered that it didn't make sense to correct my dad, tell him I was his other child if he got mixed up, etc. And if he made an outrageous demand, I'd just tell him I couldn't do it, without a long, drawn out discussion.

Your mom sounds a lot like my dad was, sweet and kind, with never a mean word for anybody.

I think having a parent or spouse with ALZ is more difficult on the child or spouse than the one with the ALZ, because they miss the way the person used to be. Maybe it would be comforting to know that at the late stages they don't realize that they are like that.
 

mjm1

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Greg, thank you for your post. I am glad you are able to visit your Mom, spend time with her, and share the Bible with her. I lost my Dad 26 years ago when he was only 55. He had a sudden heart attack, so I didn't have a chance to see him or talk with him right before he passed. However, we had talked just a few days earlier. I will always remember that time and even now miss him. Donna lost her Mom to ALS just a couple years after she and Donna's Dad retired to Las Vegas. Like your Mom, she couldn't communicate toward the end, but it was nice to spend some time with her. We need to make sure we enjoy as many moments as we can, as you never know when The Lord will call us or a loved one home. May The Lord shine upon your Mom, you and your family.

Mike
 

ada903

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Greg, thank you for sharing and for the wise and loving advice! I need to be reminded of that more often since I struggle with showing affection to my parents. They weren't the best parents (I had an abusive childhood) - and they also benefit from me financially a lot - especially my mom. One of my biggest desires is to be a good Christian and understand that they behave this way largely because they had themselves abusive and unhappy childhoods and environments. I try hard to be mature and forgiving, and express love as often as possible - but still struggle at times. Thank you for this beautiful reminder!
 

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Dear Greg,
We're going through something similar - though my dad still recognizes me completely - so I'm lucky. You are so right- so I love you each day every day - as often as you can.
You don't know howyour presence means or affects her- but you are such a wonderful son to be there.
All my love.
Ellen
 

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Sorry to read this. I experienced it also with my father before he passed away. Alzheimer is a God damned disease.
 

Pat H

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I don't remember my parents ever telling us that they loved us. I have never heard my brother or sisters tell my parents that they loved them either. My dad passed away in 2006 and I did tell him I loved him shortly before he passed away but by then he couldn't even acknowledge me. My mom will be 90 in a few months. Over the last few years I have said "I love you" when I leave her apartment and sometimes on the phone. When I do, she will say "I love you too, Honey" but never uses my name. One of my sisters was with me one time and she looked at me like I was nuts. Now that I think about it, I don't think I have ever heard my siblings tell their kids that they love them. I always tell my kids that I do when we end a phone call. Frankly, it's very difficult for me to say it to my mom but I feel I need to now before she is gone.
 

Sandi Bo

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My Mom will be 80 next April. She is very active and in pretty good health, she is very good about all her wellness check-ups etc.

A couple months back her primary referred her for a colonoscopy, the colonoscopy place told her no need, they don't normally do them for people over 75.

About 2 weeks ago she lost her cell phone. I have her on my family share plan. I sent her an old phone I have. She asked if she wasn't eligible for a new phone and I told her I was trying not to renew her contract if I didn't need to. She said, 'what, you don't think I'll live another 2 years'. Can't get a colonoscopy, can't get a new cell phone, what are you trying to tell me? She was joking, but the perception is also there.

I told her if she really wanted a colonscopy I would make some phone calls. (I did also tell her she could have a new cell phone). :)

This was humorous, however, there is definitely a perception (and it may be real) that our elderly folks feel they don't get treatment because they are "so old".

My Dad had a stroke 3 weeks ago. He will be 85 next month). Originally they decided not to do an MRI because it was so expensive. That's what he heard (any risks, etc went over his head). Eventually they did one because in order to admit him to the rehabilitation place he is now at the stroke had to be documented. But believe me, he felt they figured he was "so old" he wasn't worth the money.

God Bless our elderly, it sure it challenging, and Medicare, health plans, etc. don't make it easy. I am fortunate that both of my parents have insurance from where they retired, that kicks in after Medicare. Things will only be more challenging for the next generation.

Yes, I tell them both I love them regulary. Thank you for the reminders that we need to do this. I also know how lucky I am to still have my parents at 80 and 85.

My goal is to get Dad dancing again - believe me he is working at it! I am taking line dancing music to him today. It's kind of catchy. :)
 

Beaglemom3

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Greg,
Thank you for posting this.

My dear Irish Mum passed away at my home from the complications of Alzheimer's this past January at the age of 92.
We had dealt with the progressive downturns in her physical health and cognitive abilities for about 12 years.

The last 1-2 years were spent in mute gazing, but I repeatedly told her that I loved her hoping that on some level she would process this. I know that hugging her conveyed this.


What I wouldn't do to have a cup of tea with her again and tell her how much she was loved. No, she wasn't a perfect Mother and I wasn't a perfect daughter, but somewhere we met in the middle.

So, if you have your Mum near by, please tell her so. If you have been estranged and can close the gap, think about it.

ETA: Before she became mute, Mum would look at me and wonder who I was. I'd tell her, "Mum, it's me, Jeannie" and she would say, " Oh, I have a daughter named Jeannie. Do you know her ? ". At first it would make me cry. Later, I'd tell her that I knew her daughter and then we'd call her (my best friend 's phone number and she would play the part of me). Taking the bitter with the sweet here. God is great.

B.
 
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1950bing

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My mom ,97,lives at assistd living about 6 miles from me. She uses a walker to get around. Her PCP says she has passed everything that usually takes people away and should make it to 100 ! She is confused some, comes and goes. Her big problem is not knowing what season it is. She will talk about getting the garden ready in the dead of winter and ask if the weather man is calling for snow in August. Sometimes she forgets my brother has passed then she will talk about missing him so. She has trouble in knowing who people are in pictures. After I tell her who it is she usually has a story about them.
She thanks me often for looking after her needs and says she is sorry to have to put me through all of this. It is about 4 thousand a month but when you look at what you get for that it doesn't seem too bad. So far, she covers her costs. The OP says tell her I love her. I do and she knows what I mean cause she says, " me too" and be careful. Go mom!:clap:
 

Blues

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I'll add to the chorus here - Greg, thanks for posting this.

I'm about to fly across the country to go to my Mom's 90th birthday party. Only a couple of days this trip, but when we visit again at Christmas, it will make 3 trips this year alone. My wife and I have made a point to visit our aging parents while there's still time.

I lost my Dad in 1980, when he was just 60 years old. Even after 30 years, it still leaves a void that can't be fully filled. And as I'm about to hit 60 myself, I'm even more aware of just how young he was taken from us. I agree so much with the sentiment expressed by Greg and the rest - take the time to enjoy your parents, and to express appreciation for all they've done. Some day, you won't have that opportunity.

-Bob
 

Cathyb

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Hubbys too

All,

I just came back from visiting my sweet mother in her new care facility and it just breaks my heart. She is only 71 but has had Alzheimer's since she was 62. It has progressed to its final stages and the deterioration is dramatic. She has ephasia, meaning that she can no longer make a sentence, and poor thing, she is no longer there. She recognizes me as a familiar, friendly face, but she doesn't know who I am or that I am her son.

I take a Bible and we sit together and I read it to her. She just listens to my voice and she smiles alot but when she talks its just random words. She is one the kindest, sweetest ladies I have ever known, and its a real tragedy.

My Dad worked hard until age 65 and then retired to enjoy the good life with his life long companion. Two years later, she was diagnosed and his retirement hasn't been the golden years that he hoped.

So....please call your Mom and tell her you love her (and Dad too). We never know what life is bringing our way.

Sorry for the downer....but I'm so happy now I never missed an opportunity to tell either one of them that I loved them -- and I still tell them both every time.

Best to all,

Greg

Your note was SO timely, except it is for my DH, diagnosed with dementia. Today I said 'let's go to the Carlsbad mall' -- he said 'where?' I replied 'where we had lunch yesterday but across the street' -- don't remember. I drew a map and still he had no clue. We have lived here 12 years and have visited that mall 40 times or more. It was heartbreaking:bawl: . Thank you for the awakening!
 

Zac495

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Your note was SO timely, except it is for my DH, diagnosed with dementia. Today I said 'let's go to the Carlsbad mall' -- he said 'where?' I replied 'where we had lunch yesterday but across the street' -- don't remember. I drew a map and still he had no clue. We have lived here 12 years and have visited that mall 40 times or more. It was heartbreaking:bawl: . Thank you for the awakening!

Cathy I'm so sorry :bawl:
 

Fern Modena

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Cathy,
I'm sorry to her that Bruce has progressed so. He'll probably not remember recent things well, or be able to make choices. So try to remember not to ask him, "what do you want for dinner?" or "Do you want to go out to dinner (or the show, or the mall, etc)? cause he doesn't have/soon won't have the ability to decide. After you said Carlsbad Mall and he didn't know where it was or what it was, make it easier and just say "the mall" or "the store" even next time.

It makes me sad to hear this about Bruce and you.

Fern

Your note was SO timely, except it is for my DH, diagnosed with dementia. Today I said 'let's go to the Carlsbad mall' -- he said 'where?' I replied 'where we had lunch yesterday but across the street' -- don't remember. I drew a map and still he had no clue. We have lived here 12 years and have visited that mall 40 times or more. It was heartbreaking:bawl: . Thank you for the awakening!
 

MuranoJo

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What I wouldn't do to have a cup of tea with her again and tell her how much she was loved. No, she wasn't a perfect Mother and I wasn't a perfect daughter, but somewhere we met in the middle. B.

So true. In the last couple of years Mom was alive, whenever we'd have a phone conversation (she was 2000 miles away), she would just chatter on incessantly--no way I could get a word in edgewise, so it was like a one-way conversation. And she'd waggle the phone back & forth so I couldn't hear her clearly at times, due to her Parkinson's. I remember being so frustrated with this, but bit my tongue and just tried to listen.

What I wouldn't do to just hear her voice again. Although I often told her I loved her when she was ready to hang up.
 

GregT

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Your note was SO timely, except it is for my DH, diagnosed with dementia. Today I said 'let's go to the Carlsbad mall' -- he said 'where?' I replied 'where we had lunch yesterday but across the street' -- don't remember. I drew a map and still he had no clue. We have lived here 12 years and have visited that mall 40 times or more. It was heartbreaking:bawl: . Thank you for the awakening!

Cathy, I'm so sorry. I'll be sending wishes of strength and prayers for you and your husband...my Dad found a wonderful support group that helped him a great deal (Glennar).

Thank you all for your kind comments.

Best,

Greg
 

Cathyb

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Thank you

Cathy,
I'm sorry to her that Bruce has progressed so. He'll probably not remember recent things well, or be able to make choices. So try to remember not to ask him, "what do you want for dinner?" or "Do you want to go out to dinner (or the show, or the mall, etc)? cause he doesn't have/soon won't have the ability to decide. After you said Carlsbad Mall and he didn't know where it was or what it was, make it easier and just say "the mall" or "the store" even next time.

It makes me sad to hear this about Bruce and you.

Fern

Fern: This 'disease' is so unpredictable. Today he is fine and remembers all we did. Thank you for your concern.
 

Cathyb

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Ellen

Cathy I'm so sorry :bawl:

Thanks Ellen. It does make it tough to 'plan' timeshare vacations a year in advance -- not sure what to expect!
 

Passepartout

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Fern: This 'disease' is so unpredictable. Today he is fine and remembers all we did. Thank you for your concern.

This seems to be the pattern. Our neighbor started last summer being just a little forgetful, but able to drive, cook, run errands, garden etc. She was socially appropriate at parties and community activities. The 'bad' days gradually displaced the 'good' ones. Now, she doesn't know her husband much of the time, and won't kiss him goodnight, saying (John) might catch them in a compromising situation and she wouldn't know how to explain it to him.

Sad, very sad. He (78) insists on caring for her at home. Their kids think 'mom' should go to a memory care facility. Their big house and yard are wearing him down. This cannot have a good outcome. We will miss them both.

Jim Ricks
 
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