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Friday, November 20, 2009

Leaving

My fingers are freezing as I type this. I just ran outside and removed as many leaves as I could from the tiny man-made creek that runs into the pond.

A few days ago WR stated that he hoped the wind would blow all the leaves off the neighbor’s maple trees - and he got his wish. He even got a better gift with it. Many of those leaves blew over our fence and beyond. However, we still get to keep the ones that hit the water.

Every autumn we are surprised. I remember several years ago having our grandkids help us rake leaves when they visited over the Thanksgiving holiday. I remember having a few brave roses thumbing their petals even into December. We always know that eventually winter will arrive, but never how or when we expect it.

So is it we are surprised with the insidious creeping of Alzheimer’s in my sister-in-law’s life.
This morning I need to wolf down my coffee and cereal and rush out the door. I am supervising the movers who come to haul her furniture and belongings to assisted living.

It was only this past January that I helped her pack and move into the apartment where we hoped she would be safe and secure for a few years.

In the past few months there has been blatant deterioration. Mostly in short term memory and cognitive thinking. Tasks that require more than one step frustrate her. Just this week I realized she was unable to use her stove, to listen to her voice mail messages, or even turn on the heat for the cold days.

Where does it go from here? When?
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24 comments:

heather said...

I'm so sorry, Pam. But know that though she deteriorates daily, not all her beauty is gone. Leaves are their most beautiful just before they fall.

Intense Guy said...

I think with modern mediciene we have a double-edged sword.

The "natural deaths" of the past happen less and less and now we see more people dying of disease that horrify me - cancer, Alzheimer with its erosion of the person from the inside.

My Great Uncle, a witty, brash, outspoken, larger than life, Irishman.. crumbled away and vanished before my eyes.

I'm sorry to hear of your pain - my thoughts are with you - enjoy the last glorious colors of the fall.

Kim said...

Oh, Pamela, I am sorry. One of my favorite uncles deteriorated and then died of Alzheimer's. It is a cruel disease. My thoughts and my prayers are with you and your family. May your sister have as peaceful a journey as possible.

Sayre said...

Oh, Pamela... I'm so sorry. I have a mother-in-law with Alzheimer's and my FIL is going to keep her home as long as he is able to take care of her (and she him). But I see it every visit now - the eroding of memory, the inability to do the simple things she used to do. It's hard. At least you can help by having a place for her to go where she will be cared for by competent people.

My MIL? She hopes my FIL will die soon so that she can go back to the home he moved them out of so that he could save some money. She loved it there. She just had to BE. Not cook. Not clean. Not wait on him. She could visit the library, go to chapel, eat in the diningroom. And there was no pressure on her.

Rest assured, your sister will be cared for.

Karmyn R said...

And I fear it will probably get worse when she moves into assisted living - a new place to forget more quickly.

grammy said...

What a hard time to be going through. I don't know about you... but that scares me more than cancer or whatever. I just try not to think about it. It is so nice that you and your husband are helping to look out for her.
Like your previous post. Somehow I missed it. The little book is so precious.

Sandy said...

You have my prayers.

dawn said...

I am sorry you are going through this. I can so relate as
Sirdar's mom has deteriorated in the last 6 months as well. We worry for his dad who is there to care for her. He is going crazy I am sure and she is in denial. We have not been able to help as they have stalled in all the suggestions. We wait to here what happened at the doctor today where his dad was going to ask for a handycap sign for the car and to get them on a list for assisted living. It is a terrible disease and my prayers are with you and your husband.

tenniez.kresge1230 said...

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DesLily said...

I guess we are to be grateful that with this disease at least they don't realize whats missing ...

life just keeps getting harder..and we just hope to make it thru another day.

Janis said...

Pamela...I feel your pain...I too have a SIL with this horrible disease...my brother took care of her until it got to the point where she needed 24/7 care. We have watched her go down hill for the past 5 years,She's been in a Alzheimers unit for over a year now. When we go visit, we never know what to expect..she has some good and bad days. My sister goes at least once a week, I live an hour away so I only get there maybe once every other month. It's so heart rendering to watch someone you love just drop out of life before your very eyes. Keep the faith and the prayers.

Peter said...

Sorry to hear about the suffering of a loved one Pamela, its always tough when this happens to a friend or relative, its sad no matter who is suffering but worse when its someone close... the autumn leaves are truly beautiful... which is a good analogy.

laurie said...

oh dear i am so sorry. it cannot go anywhere good from here. the only bright side is that alzheimers patients are often extremely happy. i hope that is the case with her.

Far Side of Fifty said...

I am sorry Pamela, Alzheimer's really sucks. Alzheimer's is like a death. Everytime I forget something I worry..what else have I forgotten?? Ageing isn't easy:(

bermudabluez said...

Oh Pamela....I can relate to this. I went on that journey with my mom. It was extremely difficult. Read this book "Still Alice" by Lisa Genova or read about it here: http://www.stillalice.com/
That book helped my sister and I so much. Your family is in my prayers.

MarmiteToasty said...

How sad for you all...... I helped dear old MrFoot that lives opposite me, with his wifey June for 2 years with alzheimers before she had to go into assisted living....... she died a few years ago, and he now has a new girlfriend LOL..... I encouraged him to join some 'groups' and bugger me, he found himself a woman :)

x

12ontheinside said...

It's so very hard to watch this happening to those we love around us. Sending long distance thoughts your way.

Kila said...

That is a tough one. My condolences.

Staying warmer than usual here--high today of 52F, and the normal high is 38F. Still too chilly for me!

((((hugs))))

Diane said...

My thoughts are with you. Remember the good times, savor the memories and know that somewhere inside her head the same person you always have known and loved is in there...and let that get you through the present and the future.

wendy said...

All of these medical advances in the world and we are no closer to understanding Alzheimers?
So sorry you are going through this. Excellent metaphor.
Loved Heather's comment.
The heat thing really brought it into focus for me: She can't even turn on her heat on a cold day. That poor woman.

Desert Songbird said...

The WHEN is a difficult question for all involved; it seems endless at times, and at others, it seems like a blink of an eye.

Try to enjoy her company for as long as you can. Those moments are fleeting.

kailani said...

I'm so sorry for what your family is going through. My prayers are with you.

lisaschaos said...

It is such a thief! My only hope is that the people suffering don't realize they're suffering, if that makes sense. My grandma had Alzheimer's, it was tough. I had chemo brain and I was aware of my lack of thinking ability - I am hoping my grandma, and your sil are not aware of the lacking. It must be hard for all.

Hayden said...

Such an eloquent, beautifully written post, such perspective. I am so sorry for this tragedy you are living through, which is, indeed, an increasingly common part of living. Just as with the leaves. I hope you are accepting strength & support from your loved ones, and not simply *being strong.* Blessings to you.