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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Thursday, July 16, 2009

Thinking Backwards

I haven't been to see Mother in ages. The dog is dying and I can't leave him more than three hours at a time and a visit takes 7-8. Work has been over the top with our bicentennial celebrations and it's my busy time of the year with my preaching schedule.

And yet in some ways I don't feel like I've been absent. Because I have had to assume guardianship, months and months of time have been consumed working on her behalf. All that made me wonder if that's how she and my father felt in our growing up years.

My parents both worked in the public schools and were active in both school extra-curricular activities and church leadership. They weren't home much and much of the care for Rob and I was left to my father's mother. And yet they were working constantly on our behalf--to keep us financially afloat in hard times, to provide examples of giving to others and community involvement for us to follow.

My aunt and uncle are moving and thus clearing out stuff. They came across piles of pictures that my grandfather had and just sent me a packet of pictures they thought Rob and I might like. Many I had never seen before, including this one of my mother.

It isn't dated, but I would say she looks to be maybe 10 or 11 years old, which would date it sometime in the early 1940's. It has tabs on the back that indicate my grandfather had it posted up for quite some time. Because he rarely saw his daughter. He had a long commute and long hours and when my grandmother ran off with another man he was a single dad. So my grandfather turned to his grandmother to raise my mother. He remarried when she was about this age, but she still continued to live with her great-grandmother, who lived to see her married.

We all get through life the best we can. It is comedy and tragedy, sometimes leaning more heavily one way than the other. We do what we must and then see what's left over. I have to trust that something in the bond between mother and child allows her to know that I am with her constantly, even though my body is not physically present with her body. I have a feeling she's not often present with her body these days either. Perhaps she is here with me instead.

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