Are you my mother?
"No momma, I'm your daughter"
"Well, of course you are." Her blue eyes sparkled as she looked at me, she was there, right in the moment. Mom had come back to me.
The first few years of Alzheimer's, for me, were the hardest. Well, that's not true. The first year was pretty easy as my father was still alive and they spent their days together and not a lot was required of me. Then my father's health became worse and we lost him in October of 2000. It was just mom and I. She was officially diagnosed with Alzheimer's in January of 2001. Watching my father die in hospice was a far easier task. He took his last breath and he was gone. Alzheimer's is the death of a soul. Some people argue that point, but that's how I feel. My mother, everything that she was, left me last year. There's a stranger in her bed now, wearing her clothes, sitting in her chair. Alzheimer's is a far more cruel death. That first year after diagnosis there would be days when I questioned the doctor's words. Mom seemed fine most of the time - oh, a few memory lasps, but what elderly person doesn't suffer from that malady? And then, suddenly out of the blue, she wouldn't remember how to start the dryer, her words were wrong - Maloxx for Matlock, for instance - and it soon became evident to me, if not to others, that mom "wasn't right". I think of this as a battle, with Alzheimer's being the Devil. For those first few years we fought triumphantly, keeping him at bay. But in the last few months he's strengthened and we have found ourselves on the losing side. Mom spends most of her days in bed now, confused about even the simplist things like how to stand up. She still knows who I am, but the confusion of our roles comes more often. I know that someday soon she'll look up and I will be her mother.