Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Changing Seasons

'In change, He remains.'

I've been absent since I last wrote a post. I didn't plan it that way but life has come hard and fast and furious over the past few weeks. There have been big changes with my dear, little mother.  Over the past few years we've been caring for her as dementia began to take it's toll. The changes have been hard to grasp and we often wondered what the next day would bring. My dear mother is still alert and the doctor doesn't believe she will ever reach the place where she doesn't know us but lost memories, confusion and unreality became a part of our everyday lives. It's hard to look at the person who is so dear to you, see them look 'normal' and forget that their words or behavior isn't really them. Nancy Reagan once called it 'the long goodbye'. Many of my peers are in the same place and it's sad to hear stories that are so familiar from more and more of us each day.

Three weeks ago my mother's doctor told her she can't continue to live alone much longer. She wasn't prepared to hear that news - it hit her like a bulldozer! Her immediate reaction was very negative and sad. That began a journey we never dreamed possible.  Over the next few days she changed drastically.  We could hardly believe the incredible changes in her and we felt helpless to deal with them. Many days and evenings were spent with her as we tried to 'pick up the pieces' and help her adjust to the idea that she could move to a lovely place where life as she knows it could pretty much continue on. The fears and delusions of dementia grew out of proportion and we were thrown into a world of chaos as we tried to deal with that. We had fantastic support from the doctor and experts in things like this. At times my mom seemed to be adjusting and accepting the changes to come and then went right back into the chaos again.

My dear mother is more calm at times these days. We aren't seeing the intensity of symptoms but we are not discussing anything controversial or overwhelming with her. At times it seems she is going backwards again. She is on the waiting list at two lovely assisted living places nearby but she insists she is not going to move - she is going to stay in her home!  You can't reason with a person with dementia so we are giving her space and time to rest but one of these days we won't be able to continue that any longer. She has changed in a major way. She has lost her vitality and has decided she's tired of doing things she once enjoyed so she has chosen to let them go. That should have happened long ago. 

So, dear friends, we need prayer for wisdom and direction and strength as we walk this road. My sweetheart and I have joined a family caregiver support group that is an incredible help. We hear the stories of others who are walking this path, we shed tears together and we give support to each other. Our group met today and one dear man whose wife is quickly fading away said something we each need to grasp. His words reached deep into my heart - a much-needed reminder. 'Each day is a gift!'  There are days when it's hard to find 'the gift' in the day but he urged us to look up and observe the cloud formations, study the changing colors of the season, listen to the sounds of nature around us and realize what a gift they are to us in the middle of our worlds that are constantly changing.

8 comments:

  1. Oh Adrienne, I am so sorry for you and for your dear mother. I will pray for you and for her acceptance of this situation. I don't have any first hand experience with this issue but I can imagine how very hard it is to see your beloved mother going through it. Sending love and prayers.

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  2. I'm so glad you have joined a caregiver support group. It will help with your journey. I have been on a similar journey - my mom had Alzheimer's for 15 years. Moving her from her home was difficult but we were always honest with her. We lived "Each Day is A Gift" for many years; it is the best way. I pray your journey goes well. ~Jeanne

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  3. Sweet, sweet friend, I am praying for you and your family. Praying and asking God for total discernment, guidance and direction concerning your sweet mama. "Change" to a person with dementia can be devastating there is no doubt. But we all get comfortable with our surroundings and our environment and the life we know...well, it's just that! It's the life we know and when that life changes it becomes frustrating, confusing and even hurtful. The bottom line for me having to make changes in a family situation was that I had to do what was overall best for them regardless of my heart's cry. It's so hard when we are at this point of life with caregiving and each situation is totally different. I am truly lifting you up to our Lord. Hugs and blessings, Cindy

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  4. So sorry to read this Adrienne. It is a frightful disease. The daughter of an old friend of mine posted on facebook recently that "she still had a Mother but a Mother that did not know her. I do pray that she will come to a place of knowing and acknowledging her need and realising the impossibility of trying to continue alone. Prayers and Blessings go out to you.

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  5. Oh, Adrienne, my heart goes out to you! My dad's wife suffered from Alzheimer's the last few years and passed away last month. I believe that dementia and Alzheimer's are harder on the caregivers than many of the other illnesses people suffer from. It's especially hard when the body still seems strong, but the loved one's personality and demeanor change so drastically. You never know what challenges to expect one day to the next. Much love and prayers for you, my friend. ((Hugs))

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  6. Oh, dear Adrienne, I'm so sorry. we knew this was coming but that doesn't make it easier. I've been praying for y'all. Let me encourage you to say - you're a wonderful daughter who loves her little mother dearly and God will reward you because you're honoring your mother. Prayerfully she will have a good day and realize the move is the only way. My little mother was like yours, she never did not know who I was but she didn't remember and envisioned things that had never happened, but she believed they did with all of her heart.
    I'm sending love and prayers.
    Blessings,
    Shelia

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  7. I am so sorry for your mom...she must live in a constant state of confusion and I'm sure she is afraid a lot of the time. It would scare me so much. I,being in advanced age, worry that I will make my kids and grands worry about me. I pray this won't happen. I am sorry you are having to deal with such a scary thing.

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