I have heard from many people that the personality of their loved ones changed with the progression of Alzheimer’s disease, some for the good and some for the bad. I remember a friend telling me that as dementia set in, her mom became nice for the first time!
The nature of our mom has always been kind, helpful, and encouraging. She did have to persevere through a difficult childhood, so beneath the sweet exterior is also a fighter. We have witnessed some of that fighter over the course of the last year as confusion about her situation set in. There was the, “hotel in the nice downtown area where I could walk to shops,” where we were for some reason not letting her live. There was the house in Miami (her childhood home that her mother sold 40 years ago) that we “sold” without her consent. The car that we sold, the money that we control, her books, her laundry – all of the usual subjects that come up with this disease.
However, through it all, underneath even the most trying situations, her heart has led her through. We see this every visit in the way that she smiles at us and how her eyes light up as she gives us a greeting of surprise. “I didn’t know you were coming!”, “What a wonderful surprise!”, or “How did you ever find me?”.
When I go to visit, I emotionally prepare myself. I hide away my sadness and bring out my carefree, silly side. I go to be with her and support her and yet, her heart ends up reaching out to support me. As we walked outside recently, I noted the nice breeze that was blowing making the late July afternoon not so unbearably hot. “That is because of you,” she said. “Really,” I said, “I brought the wind? I didn’t realize I was so powerful.” “But you are,” she said, “you are multi-wonderful!” Even in her uncertain and scary situation, she still is able to care so deeply for us and provide emotional support to us.
I don’t know if or how she will be able to continue expressing from her heart as she progresses, but somehow I am certain that radiance will continue to shine through.
“I cherish that beautiful space that you have in my heart.”Her latest expression – I mean really!!!