The following writing was written by a friend who is facing the turmoils and detrimental affects families face when a loved one is stricken with Alzheimer's Disease. Tienna Rose, a published author on http://www.AssociatedContent.com, has given me permission to publish her writing.
Losing Mom to Alzheimer's
My mother has been slowly dying from early onset Alzheimer's for the last eight years. She was diagnosed when she was 55, she just turned 63 at the beginning of December, 2010. The day after Christmas, I was informed that my mom was entering the final stage of her life. Her kidneys are beginning to fail and the dementia is progressing faster. Hearing these words has brought on so many thoughts, memories and emotions inside me.
My mom and I have always had a tumultuous relationship, so much so, I moved 12 hours away from her. We went 5 years without speaking to each other after I moved away. Neither one of us had any idea, then, that we would have such a short time left with each other.
The diagnosis of the Early Onset Alzheimer's Disease began a new relationship with my mom that I will forever Cherish. Even though I was still 12 hours away, I was there for mom when she would call. At the beginning I would do what I could sooth her when the fears of the disease would become overwhelming. About 5 years ago, we had to make the hard decision to put her in a nursing facility for her own safety and well being. That was a very hard time for mom, she was still able to realize where she was. Everytime any of us visited or called, she would beg for us to take her home. It was so heart breaking to have to tell her no, she had to stay in the home. This disease has robbed her of meeting her first great grandchild, and from sharing the joy of being a first time grandma with me.
It was about 3 years ago when mom started forgetting who I was. I continued to try calling her until it became impossible for her to take a phone call. Mom has lost her ability to form words and no longer recognizes anyone in the family. She can no longer dress herself, the nurses have to force her to get out of bed everyday. She has reached the point where she has to have someone with her to make sure she eats or drinks something at every meal.
Now, as my mom's life is nearing it's end, I can't help but think of all the time that we wasted by fighting and turning our backs to each other. The realization that it's too late to tell her I now understand why she did and said some of the things she did while I was growing up is left within me. My mom ruled with an iron fist, I thought she was just being mean. She always made sure all of us kids walked on the straight and narrow, insisted we were always honest, and always on our best behavior. She didn't have a problem with handing out discipline either, even when we would argue, I never used disrespectful words or language.
My hope now that others, even if it's just one person, might learn from our mistakes. Always try to remember forgiveness and understanding should always be an option. Tell the people in your life what they mean to you, and how much you appreciate them. You might be very surprised at how many people don't know how you really feel about them. Just to do this very simple thing, will be so much easier then it will be to bare the weight of years full of regrets and anger. Shortly after my mom was diagnosed, she told me that she loved me and was proud of me. That was the first time I had ever heard these words from my mom. I will always cherish those words, I just wish it hadn't taken this disease to hear her say them.
Don't wait until it's too late, if you do, you will carry the heaviest burden you could ever imagine with you the rest of your life.