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, May 09, 2009

Mother's Day 2009

So tomorrow is Mother's Day. I have a lengthy church speaking gig, so I will not be with Mother. And because of the rift with my stepfather, I now have very mixed feelings about going on days when he is likely to be there.

It's one of those nasty times when all of life piles up. I turn 50 on Monday, remembering the day of my birth--it was in the wee hours of the morning after Mother's Day in 1959. But Mother spent a good part of the actual Mother's Day in the hospital in labor. Turning 50 isn't bad...just a reflective time during a period that is just generally difficult. Menopause...will I have a shred of energy today? This week? This month? The nightmare of getting Mother's disastrous finances in order--a task now in its fourth month--thanked by hate mail and litigation from David. Insane work schedules with the Bible Society trying to navigate the economic meltdown while celebrating our 200th anniversary. A mother who is somewhere, but probably not in the body that bears her name. I sent a lovely card. But the one who taught me to read will not be able to read it now.

A distant cousin came to my booksigning last week (yes, God with Skin On: Finding God's Love in Human Relationships has finally been released! Get yours on Amazon!) and brought with her some pictures and letters that she thought I might like to have. There were some pictures from my brother's wedding, and this one above of my mother and father being walked down the aisle. That was a year before my father died. Mother was 47 in that picture.

I don't imagine turning 50 was a cakewalk for her either. She had been a widow just two years. I was married and out of the house and she was battling the federal government to gain political asylum for my Czech pen pal and his wife who had defected from the then Communist nation and moved in with her. The economic times were also lean in 1982 and she had a 200-year-old farmhouse on 3 acres of land to care for. And menopause (I imagine). And an insanely busy work and church life.

She could have told me about turning 50, if she were capable of telling anyone about anything. But she's not. Her mother might also have shared with her, but my grandmother didn't give a flip about my mother--at least not in any way that showed. She lived in Florida and had her own life. Just like she always had from the day she ran off leaving my toddler mother with no idea why her mother didn't come home.

So perhaps I have all the answers I need about what it was like for my mother to be 50 years old and on her own with bureaucracies to battle, too many responsibilities, oceans of grief for things lost, economic woes, and a body with a mind of its own. She lived it with grace. I shall endeavor to do the same.

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