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Four Years Ago Today

Himrod, NY(Zone 6a)

Four years ago today, the day after my mom's 74th birthday we placed mom in a nursing home. It was one of the hardest things I have ever done. It was however a choice between my dad totally losing his health or getting help for mom. January 1996 mom fell and broke her collar bone and it seemed to trigger the onset of Alzheimers.

It seems so strange to be writing these words, yet I know that it was the best we could do in the grips of a terrible disease. She hid it well for many years but bit by bit she slowly slipped away from us to what the doctor now calls an almost catatonic state. From being one of the most docile women I ever know to just the opposite was such a shock. To this day it is hard for my 80 year old dad to realize she wasn't angry and mean "just to get back at him" but really was terribly confused and lost. Dad an "Archie Bunker" in what he expected from a wife to mom the perfect "Edith" has not yet fully come to the gripes that mom is not coming back. He is better though and has his garden and birds that he feeds to keep him occupied except during this long long winter time. He is so faithful everynight, except when he has been sick or the weather too bad to drive in, he goes in and feeds her supper and they "watch" TV together. In the good weather he takes her out to watch the sky. Mom so loved to count the jet trails in the sky.

Because of my faith I have realized how much grace my Lord has given me during this time, to grow and know that patience, kindness and love are so important whether they are reciprocated or not. I am a better person because of this monster disease in our lives. I try not to think of how many of my relatives on both sides have succombed to this disease and if we too will join the numbers. It is in my Heavenly Father's hands and only he knows how much growing we must do to be refined. Unfortunately my brother, sister and dad do not have this hope in their lives, yet I see changes in them.

We children take turns feeding mom lunch when we can. Each of us get in to feed mom least one lunch a week and we try to fill in the slack of the others. The nursing home staff have been wonderful to us. Allowing us a private room for our parties and holiday celebrations. When ever one of us have a birthday we are there with cake, cards, gifts and lots of laughter with mom right in the center of it all. The main problem per the staff is we have fed mom too well and she has gained so much weight that the had to cut her calories way back! The staff say they have never seen a family quite like ours. Is it hard? Yes, but the blessings are so abundant. We "kids" all have understanding and supportive spouses, Thank you Lord.

Thanks for letting me sort my thoughts and maybe even encourage someone else through the darkness of this terrible disease. I would have included a photo of mom and dad from a year or two ago but I see not place to include it on this forum. That's OK you can all know that there is lots of love there.

Golden, CO(Zone 5b)

Joy, in reading through your post, the thing that struck me strongest, is the amount of love and loyalty your mother receives, from her husband, children, and even the childrens spouses. I know how difficult it is to do what you are doing, especially on a continual basis for a year, much less four years.

To have earned that kind of ongoing love, and support, she must have been a truely remarkable woman. You are blessed to have her, and she you. That is a wonderful legacy to pass along.

Himrod, NY(Zone 6a)

Thank you Terre_, I have tried to always consider it a privilege and a blessing to be able to be there for my parents. I have also been touched by you messages in this forum. You too know the heartache and joys of this type of a situation. I also went to the site "aging with dignity" and purchase the packet of "Five Wishes" to share with my family and close friends. Thank you for that link.

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