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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Monday, August 29, 2005

August 29

Well, it's a Monday after all, but I didn't go for lunch. I've taken some time away at my cabin, which is only a half an hour from The Birches, making a Monday afternoon trip quite a bit easier. With rain threatening the rest of the week, I thought today would be the best hope of taking Mother out anywhere.

When I arrived, the dining room was completely empty. There were a number in the TV room, but a quick survey didn't turn up Mother. I found her in her room, asleep in her chair. "Knock, knock!" I said, and she woke up with a smile. It was a good thing. She was pleased to see me and knew who I was, but she didn't seem to recognize that she hadn't seen me in three weeks.

There was a Danielle Steele novel on her bed, along with a copy of Chicken Soup for the Soul, which the edges proclaimed belonged to Russell.

I survived the stuffed dog (Cody) much better than I thought I might after losing Grace, and even survived a new beanie baby dog that is marked just like Grace. I asked her if she wanted to go for ice cream, and she supposed she did. So I managed to get her into the bathroom before we left.

That is more and more of a challenge. As soon as she is not facing the bathroom door, she forgets about it, and even once she is in there, she's not quite sure what to do. But we had success and we prepared to head out. Overall she was much less anxious. She didn't feel the need to take her purse and spent relatively little time making sure things were set in the room. She followed easily along to the car, and we went out to Beech Hill Farm. Since the weather was iffy, there wasn't a big crowd, and we got our ice cream and sat alone out on the picnic tables.

Well, almost alone. There was the begging dog. He really has it down to a science. He keeps his distance until the cones are about halfway eaten. Then he begins to move in closer. By the time you are down to the last quarter of a cone, he is lying at your feet and he again made a score with Mother's coffee ice cream cone. Then he was gone.

The other animals at the farm were more friendly today, and Mother spent some time with one of the goats and then one of the Shetland ponies. I have a picture of the latter...I'll post some, but out here at the cabin, I don't have the connector to download the pictures to my computer.

I think the thing that struck me most today was that Mother was just happy. She laughed a lot at nothing in particular and seemed concerned over nothing. It took me back to the late 70's, when my father's mother was in a nursing home with some form of dementia. She had been a miserably unhappy person while in her right mind, but as her mind left her, it uncovered a hidden joy underneath.

I guess it's the "ignorance is bliss" theory, but whatever it is, I'm grateful for it. She wasn't worried about why I hadn't been there, she was happy to see me and to go do whatever, but she was equally happy to look at the cards and books in her room. In that sense, it is an enviable state. No worries, no fears. In such a terrible disease, there is an oasis of grace. I hope it lasts.


Blogger Duddits said...

Its very touching story!! I happen to come across your blog by accident.

1:06 PM  
Anonymous Lorna said...


It sounds like the break has also done you good -and I'm glad for it.

be blessed :)

10:42 AM  

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