Posts Tagged ‘alzheimer’s’

Moleskin monday

a moleskin and a few random journals from my desk

When we were cleaning out mom’s desk a few weeks ago, we found a few spiral bound notebooks.  Inside she had kept track of a time in her life that was full of change and uncertainty.  I didn’t need to read more than the first few lines to recall that time.  And I didn’t read on because it felt too personal, but it has caused me to think of mom in a new light.  Even though we have grown to be friends, there are so many pieces of her life that I don’t know about.  Those moments of doubt and sadness.  The depth of grief she may have experienced when her parents died.  The joys and pains of being a mother to five very different children.  I imagine some of that is in these journals.  But it makes me think that right now, while she is still here, I need to ask her those questions, to hear her tell the story of those moments.  One thing I have discovered about mom’s Alzheimer’s journey is that it is much easier for her to talk of the past.  So one of these lovely journals might become my place to record those conversations with mom as we enter the new year.

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blog gapA friend returned from a month working in Uganda and was talking about her time spent in London on the way home.  She had seen this message on other trips but after being in the village, working with families who have so little, the words took on new meaning.  There is a gap between the life we know and the life being lived in other countries.

When I saw this photo in my files today, I thought of the gap left as mom’s memories fade or elude her.  Not remembering that they will be moving.  Not being able to hold on to the reason for packing up, sorting, tossing, and all those boxes in her home.  As I left today I wondered how big that gap will get and what I will do when her memory of me gets lost in the gap.

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look upIt is almost impossible to believe that one day, I could lose the ability to name the colors in my world, that I wouldn’t know how to pack dishes or what my daughters like on their sandwich.  Watching mom lose these bits and pieces of her memory have made me want to pay attention to everything, to take pictures, to write it down.  It wouldn’t make a difference in the end but for now, I am trying to remember to look up.

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You were really fun little girls.  You really knew how to play, how to imagine, how to create.  I think of these memories all the time.  But those memories are mostly in my head and there are things I want you to know.  Stories of who you were as you grew from little girl to young woman.  Not just what you did, said, liked or didn’t like.  But stories that will someday help you to see how you became the women that you are.  I long to hear these stories from my own mom, but she doesn’t remember much and has trouble tracking in conversation.  I have a whole list of questions I wish I had asked her, but it seemed there would be time.  You wouldn’t think to ask these questions, not yet.  Maybe one day, when you  have children of your own.  But maybe I can put these memories down now, answer those questions that your gramma won’t be able to answer for me.

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books on my mind

book diaryMy grandmother was a reader.  I remember when she took me to the new library in our little town. 

My mom used to be a reader.  She loves the library so much that she served on the foundation board for many years.  She was a champion for literacy and loved to find ways to help adults learn to read.  One of the first things I noticed about my mom’s shifting into Alzheimer’s was her inability to read.  She would pick up a book and just fidget with it, not being able to get going.  One day she said to me, “I know I have started this book but for the life of me I cannot remember what I have already read and I just can’t seem to start over again.”

I think I take this love for reading for granted.  I buy books, pick up books at the library, create reading lists, make wonderful piles of books.  But I don’t read so much these days.  Life has been busy but is this something I am willing to put on a back burner?  This is one of those defining questions.  Will my daughters remember me as a reader or as a collector of books?

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