Friday, May 21, 2010

Accepting Reality...

Dear Friends -
I can't even begin to thank you enough for the wonderful hugs and thoughts that you've sent my way during this tough path in my life.  You are so precious to me - thank you, thank you, thank you!!!
We arrived home from Ohio late last night and we're just starting to de-compress all that is happening.
The past couple of weeks have been draining and difficult and heart-breaking.  God has walked with us every step of the way.  I have prayed at times, minute-to-minute...gut-wrenching, driven to my knees, pleading prayers.  I haven't always received the answer I would have chosen - but God has held me while I've had to deal with the answers I've been given.
I left here knowing that my mom was facing tough medical issues, but I was totally un-prepared for what really awaited me.  Lately, when I had talked to my mom, I had noticed her "wandering" during some of our conversations and several weird, "off-the-wall" comments here and there...but things were SO much worse than what I imagined.  My mom does have kidney and liver problems and symptoms of congestive heart failure...but in the past three weeks, her mental faculties have declined with lightening speed.
My beloved dad passed away due to alzhimers-related issues.  (He died due to a stroke and pneumonia, but suffered most from the alzheimers.)  I can't believe I'm losng another parent due to brain disease.  has passed . .  Most hurtful, I think, is that my mom's brain-issue has caused not only memory problems, but is also causing rage outbursts.  When I would bring mom her medicine, she would scream that she had already taken her medicine and that I was trying to over-medicate her and hurt her or I would catch her trying to take her medicine (not rememberng that she had already taken it) and she'd accuse me of depriving her of medicine she needed to stay alive.  Everyday we were there, mom would erupt in horrible fits of rage...about everything from the tv remote, to clean sheets on her bed, what I fixed to eat, my sweetie's shirt, Ian's reading a book, etc.  We never knew when she would "flip".  It broke my heart.   She would have quite a few lucid moments and would be kind - but then she'd "dissapear" again.  She has become compulsive about cleaning everything...I would clean her house spotless...and then she'd scream for me to clean up her house...every cupboard, drawer, bottle and spot.  She'd get so adjtated and I couldn't calm her. 
We finally decided to get the best care we could for her - it's all we can do.  This has upset Ian's heart to see his Grandma like this - and he needs to have as normal a life as possible through all of this. We're trying to use this as a teaching moment for him - to have a servan'ts heart.  He's far exceeded my expectations for the most part.  He does get angry that this happened and we let him know that that's just fine.  We're angry at times too.   Bless his heart, there's just no getting around that this is difficult.   We're going to be floating between Florida and Ohio as often as possible and try and make the best of this situation.  (Sure wish my mom and dad had headed south like other retirees!  Why did they have to do the northern thing??  LOL)  It could go on for a while or it could be over in an instant.  The doctors seem to think it will be the latter, but only God knows the number of our days.
I have been blessed beyond measure with my amazing husband.  He has endured so many of my tears and so much of my mom's wrath the past two weeks and has been a champion for our family.  He's has been  everything we need and more.  I'm so grateful for he and Ian and all that they do to make sure that I'm okay and always find ways to make me smile and laugh.  Even in the midst of the pain, God has sent  angels to comfort me...
With all that said, it's good to be home.  I think this week-end, I will hold on to the phrase - "my needle and thread comforteth me" and do some stitching therapy.  We're also planning on sitting on the beach all day tomorrow...nothing like sun and surf to comfort a soul.
Again, your kind words have been so treasured...


Lee said...

Sending you blessings and soothing thoughts your way. I remember those struggles as if they happened just yesterday.

Remember that there are people out here who have walked in your shoes and they're thinking of you. You can always reach out to us if you need to.

Siobhan said...

Sharon, I am so sorry for the things you're having to go through. Your family--all of them--are in my thoughts and prayers. Big, big hugs. xoxoxo

Amy said...

I'm so sorry for what you are going though. PBS for you & your family. I only hope that if this happens to me, that I'll be able to handle it half as well as you.
Take care!

Casa Pearl said...

There is a very helpful book called "The 36 Hour Day" that really explains alzheimers and what happens - including talking to kids about it. It is well worth reading for the better understanding and some great advice.

Mistylynn said...

Sharon I am so sorry for what you are going through. Alzheimers is a terrible disease. MIL has beginning stages of it too so I understand what your going through to a point. Hang in there girl.



Carolyn said...

Sharon, I'm just so, so sorry that you are having to endure this. There is nothing worse than watching a parent suffer the way your mom is, which in turn makes YOU suffer. I'm so glad you joined my board and anytime you want to vent there or email me, feel free. I lost my mom last year and I still can't believe she's gone. What you are going through is even worse.

Hugs from Texas,

stitcherw said...

I'm so sorry Sharon, what a difficult and trying time. My aunt went through this and it was terribly hard, I can't imagine having a parent suffer from it. I'll keep you and your family in my thoughts and prayers as you cope with this, hopefully your stitching is able to bring you a measure of comfort and piece. {{hugs}}.

AnnMcD said...

My mom's personality changed also during her years in the nursing home... and before that too...her own twin sister bore the brunt of her fear and anger. I cried every time I visited her but I knew she wasn't herself and did not know how she was affecting the people who loved her. She would have been mortified by her own behaviour had she known what she was doing. But you just have to love her and know that a terrible disease has taken control.

My heart is with you.