Life with Mom
—-This is a story of a shared life with Mom after her diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease.—
April 18, 2013
The other day, Kim Gifford, a fellow Hubbard Hall Writers Group Member, asked me if I ever have feelings of guilt or sadness when writing about my life with my mother, and tagging the posts with the word “Alzheimer’s.” It stopped me in my tracks. I really had to consider each word, and force myself to understand them as they relate to me and my life with Mom. Not an easy thing to do. It’s not that I don’t have feelings about things. I just have developed a practical pattern of doing what I have to do, moving along, and not putting an emphasis on how things make me feel.
As a clever and talented writer and a teacher of Memoir Writing, Kim knows the right questions to ask her students to promote their thoughts to flow into their writing. At this moment, I’m a student of Kim’s, and this is my response to her question:
I don’t feel guilt leading the stories with “Mom” and “Alzheimer’s”. I don’t think I really feel sadness either… at least not yet. Maybe because this isn’t new for me, maybe because my mother doesn’t mind my writings, and also maybe because being open provides some sense of an opportunity to accept the things we can’t change, and have a conscious control of managing it.
A lot of my experiences with people who are facing this with family members is to hide the person and themselves from the world. There seems to be great loss in that, for both the person and the caregiver. In my practice as an occupational therapist, I have seen self-imposed isolation and despair. I think that having an atmosphere of openness attracts support. Something we can all use in every phase of life. If my mother wasn’t supportive of this, and didn’t see the value in being open, I would respect that and accept the consequences of being private. But, the fact that she is open is most likely where I get my philosophy.
I know the above response to Kim’s questions have a lot of “maybe’s”, but I think (maybe) I’m on the path of self-exploration, which is an important step in understanding our individual and complicated selves.