Happy Easter! Mom and Don are coming down to stay with me overnight, and we're going to my sister, Karin's house for dinner. It's been a bit of a difficult time these past few months with Mom, and I'm just kind of getting around to accepting it.
She just turned 81 last month, and up until last fall, had been doing great. But then we started seeing some signs of forgetfulness and confusion. And she was losing a lot of weight...it ended up being about 30 lbs. in 4 months. Her memory issues got worse and after a series of visits to the neurologist, she was diagnosed with Alzheimers in February. She was put on two Alzheimers medications which seemed to have stabilized her memory loss for now. And her weight has also stabilized. We had to go through her closet last weekend and get rid of all of her old clothes because none of them fit and Don said she was looking like a homeless person. Ha! I took her shopping for some new clothes and for those who know Mom, she hated that trip.
Don has been great throughout all of this; it's been a big stress for him. My siblings and I take turns going up to Shepherdstown each weekend to visit Mom, bring lots of food for the week, and give Don a break. I think the time for some in-home help during the week is coming soon.
This has been a tough winter. As Mikell can attest, I've been one second away from tears pretty much the whole time. I can now get through most of a conversation about Mom without crying, but even writing this the tears are flowing. It's so difficult to see a smart, vibrant, funny woman turn into someone who can't remember the names of her grandchildren. I think the saddest part is that she knows it's happening and can't do anything to stop it. She has been one of my best friends for my entire life. We never had the typical mother-daughter dramas except for when she told me I shouldn't marry my now ex-husband. I guess I'll give her that one. :-)
But now it's just to adjust to the new "normal." Figure out the best way to work with her. My sister tends to try to ignore it and act like nothing has changed. I, on the other hand, just face it head on with Mom. Last weekend, I quizzed her on her grandchildren, and made sure she could at least remember my kids! I'm sure we will all need to keep evolving as this insidious disease runs its course. I have already made big changes in my lifestyle, though, to do everything I can to prevent this from happening to me.
Here we are last weekend on a windy walk at Antietam: