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, January 16, 2006

Christmas Day 2005

It was an odd Christmas this year. Since it was a Sunday, both David and I had church obligations in the morning. With my scheduled flight to Florida on Christmas night and Rob and Stephanie off visiting her parents, I was sort of on my own. So, once church was done and I had gotten packed for the trip, I headed up to The Birches.

Of course I wanted to be with Mother on Christmas. I brought her present and since David, Laurie, and Ward were there when I arrived, we all exchanged gifts in an unplanned celebration. But still I wondered if she knew it was Christmas. I think at some level she did...but what level?

That's always the question these days. People ask if she still knows me. She does, but at what level? I don't quiz her as I see some families do...asking "Who am I?" or "Where do we live?" Maybe I don't want to know the answer. But I see recognition in her eyes, so I know that I am still a familiar face. I just can't be sure that she could correctly identify that familiar face if I pushed her. And so, for both our sakes, I don't.

She doesn't ask about others anymore as she once did. She has stopped asking me if I've heard from Grandpa or mentioning that he hasn't written. She no longer asks if I've seen David. She did surprise me on Christmas, however. I stayed about half an hour after the others had left, and I told her that I was going from there to the airport to fly to Florida for a couple of weeks. "Send me a note to let me know you've arrived," she said...just as plain as day. Of course, as I'm remembering this now, I am remembering that the one thing she managed to clearly ask for, I didn't do. Sigh.

We had our usual prayer and eventually I headed for the airport...only to spend about four hours there and have my flight cancelled due to bad weather. I finally got out the next morning. It was some level.

I want to take a moment to thank whoever it was who brought this blog to the attention of WGBH Morning Stories (in Boston). An edited version of "The First Noel" post from last Christmas was their feature the Tuesday before Christmas. They said that a listener called in and recommended something from this blog for their show. It was a fun thing to do, and I've had mail from those that it helped who heard it on the air or in the podcast. So, to my anonymous benefactor, thank you.


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