Vignettes

A Pause As Long As Forever

Dad tried telling me the other day that Momma was due for some medical appointments. He assured me this with such clarity and conviction, I believed for a fleeting moment that time had turned back on itself. I pictured the paper calendar they used to keep. Imagined my father thumbing through it. In real time, however, in the next moment, he hung his head and confided that he’d been slipping, that he hadn’t kept up with her needs. He was visibly distraught upon letting me in on this. “She hasn’t seemed right lately. I’m worried about her. She is my heart and soul.” He barely got that last word out before grief choked back anything else he might have said. All this happened after a morning… I practically carried her to the breakfast table where he was already seated – her unruly frame falling into mine as I walked backwards toward her chair. He watched this happening but didn’t register the gravity of it all. His eyes fixated only on his love moving closer and filled with the same wonder that always glows from them whenever she is near. His heart, which my mother is the keeper of, overflowed into the room: “Good morning Mommy! Good morning my love!”
. . .
Imagine a pause as long as forever as silence settled around his effusions, while he stared at her expectantly, while she stared ahead. Or didn’t stare at all. The fog and haze obscurity of late stage Alzheimer’s stealing her vision. Something terrible is tearing at my chest. She is not ignoring him. It’s just that words mean nothing to her. She hears but she doesn’t hear. She sees but she doesn’t see. She’s alive but she’s dying. They both are. Every day.
. . .
I am sorry to have to put you through this. At the end of our story a death waits that you cannot keep at bay. We may put up a fight, but this match is rigged.

#alzheimersawareness #endalz #alzheimers #dementiaawareness #dementia #iamacaregiver #forbothparents #myheartbreaks #athousandtimesaday #grief

Crossposted to Instagram

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5 Comments

  • Reply mona March 4, 2016 at 8:53 pm

    My mother died a couple years ago from this disease and it is a heart breaking vent for all. Towards the end she lost it all. Except knowing she loved dad. I said my goodbye months before but it still hit hard. But she warned me long before the disease took the last of her brain that a day would come when she would not recognize me BUT it didn’t mean she LOVED me any less. I miss my mom but it was her time to go back home. She was 77 and married to day 66 yrs. Now dad just can’t wait to see her again. But I don’t want to lose him too, but when he does go, I’ll be ok since he will be with her again. I am so sorry you had to lose your mom and that your dad has the disease also. Cherish him while you can and t keep the faith. Mona

  • Reply Chrisor March 15, 2016 at 7:35 pm

    Your last 2 paragraphs are so profound & sum up this grave disease in a nutshell. I’ve been caring for my almost 95 year old mother who has Alzheimers for years. I’m so sorry that you are living with this situation times 2. I can’t imagine how hard it would be to care for 2 parents like that. Taking care of 1 has almost broken me. I’m glad to find your blog! 😊

    • Reply elizabethgracewolf April 19, 2016 at 3:46 pm

      Thank you for being here! I followed the link to your blog and my heart was warmed by your mother’s sweet smile. Much love to you both.

  • Reply Beth Spadafora April 18, 2016 at 12:53 pm

    I was excited to find your blog because sometimes I think I am the only one who has had two parents suffering from debilitating dementia simultaneously. I have been caring for the two of them since 2009. It is now 2016. My father died almost a year ago of Lewy Body disease. My mother has advanced Alzheimer’s disease. She can no longer walk or talk. I think sometimes she knows me but it’s hard to tell. She will, on a good day, smile at anyone who is kind to her so she may just be responding to me as she would anyone. All I really care about is keeping her happy so I am thrilled when she smiles, whether at me or at one of her caregivers. It doesn’t matter whether she knows me or whether she understands, it only matters that she is happy and comfortable.

    It brings me some comfort to read your words. I recognize so much the thoughts and the sentiments there. They are familiar to me.

    • Reply elizabethgracewolf April 18, 2016 at 8:02 pm

      Thank you for your words Beth. I don’t know quite how to say it but you feel like kin to me. I feel comfort in your being here to share in my experience and also in sharing in a bit of yours. Much love to you. ~ Lizzie

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