Mondays With Mother: An Alzheimer's Story

In 2002 my mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer's. It is a hard road, and we live it one day at a time. This is a chronicle of her disease and my Monday visits with her.

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Name: Anne Robertson
Location: Plymouth, Massachusetts, United States
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Saturday, August 20, 2005


It was my mother who taught me to love animals. She was the one who showed me how to stand as still as a statue, birdseed in my hand, so that the chickadees would feed from my fingers. She was the one who rescued the mice from the cats and gently took the spiders and wasps from my room and put them outside. She was the one who cared for all our various pets...the skunk, the turtles, the hamster, the dogs, the cats. I have a picture of her feeding a squirrel with her teeth. The raccoons came nightly to our door for treats until we got dogs.

And so I hope she understands, in that place where spirit communes with spirit, that I have not come this week because my dear Grace has died. I've put a memorial to her at Remembering how much trouble I had with my visits while in the fresh grief of moving, I don't think I can handle a visit as I mourn my companion of 11 years.

And so I miss her, but I know I would lose it walking into her room with the life-sized stuffed dog. We are gathering at The Birches on Labor Day to celebrate August birthdays (David and Ward), so that may be the next time I get there. I need a week without death.

She may not realize I have not come, but I feel it in my bones. And yet my heart of flesh is too broken to steel itself against the grief of a visit. Someday I will again feel the abundance that I know surrounds me even now. But for now, I see only the swirling vortex that has swallowed those I love.


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