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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Friday, November 17, 2006


Joan Robertson Coventry High School 1960sThat is Mother in the 1960's as she began her work as an English teacher at Coventry High School. Below is a picture of her at Coventry High in 1975, a year before I graduated. By then she had moved from teaching English to being a guidance counselor. She retired from there in the late 1980's.

Joan Robertson Coventry High School 1975 Last week I went to a retirement party for my high school chemistry teacher. So many faculty members were there. Since both of my parents worked in the school many years, the faculty were like family to me. They were my parents' friends, and we saw them frequently outside of school settings.

And so Rob and I went to the retirement party. And our old friends...missing my father who died so young and grieving my mother's condition...came to us and told us stories. The time my mother put in two pounds of coffee instead of one and how it came out like mud. The former principal saying, "Your mother was my right arm at that school." The former vice principal saying, "Your mother was the smartest woman ever to work at the place."

It was like listening to the stories at a funeral...wonderful to hear the high regard that all had for her, but hearing it all in the past tense.

Rob went up to see her shortly after the event. He said she seemed to recognize some of the names as he mentioned them. I have left old yearbooks in her room and from time to time we go through them. It's hard to say what she knows. She was the senior class advisor for many years, for classes of 400-500 kids. She ran honors night. She ran graduation. "Ten to fifteen people now do what she did all by herself," they reported to me. I don't doubt it. I was there.

Now she cannot dress herself.

Can we roll back the tape? Can it be 1975 again? Can my father be alive? Can my mother have her mind? Can I again dream of marriage and family?

No, every thing there is a season, and the season for those things has passed. God has new seasons in store. But, just for a moment, I was back the good old days, as they say. The tape rolled back for a few hours, and we laughed and remembered.


Anonymous Deb Peterson said...

Anne--What wonderful photos of your Mom. Sometimes I think Wordsworth and the Romantics had the right idea about the past--that it's better when recollected, even though we would dearly love to return. Especially when we love someone who is losing what we take so much comfort from. "Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD."--one of my favorite psalms.

7:39 PM  
Anonymous Mona Johnson said...

Anne, this is a great tribute to your mom. One of the things I like the most about visiting everyone's blog is the pictures of their parents. It's like their watching over our efforts...

4:47 PM  

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