Stumbling and Recovery

Something very strange happened to me last month. Or maybe it’s not so strange. For all the positive steps moving forward in grieving the loss of a loved one, you can stumble. And that happened to me last month.

I still get the shakes when I see the word “Alzheimer’s” in a heading or within text. Still, I read a review of “Still Alice” in The New York Times last month. But it was the readers’ comments that hit me hard.

As I read some of them, I started crying. They brought me back to my care-giving experiences. Not only did I share many of the readers’ experiences but it caused me, again, to question my care: Did I do everything I could? I knew mom had dementia but did my denial of Alzheimer’s hamper my care-giving? Should I have quit my job to be with her all the time? I still see her big smile and eyes light up when I would stop by for breakfast on my way to work. Could I or should I have done things differently? My friends and brother will give an emphatic “No!”

I think care-givers always have these doubts, especially after losing their loved one. But these comments hit such a nerve in me and set a trigger off so much so that I contacted my local Alzheimer’s Association to look into a support group. And as I’m on the phone with the rep, I just started bawling. My emotions were just so raw – something not experienced for a long time as I was doing so well.

Well, after calling the group’s facilitator and finding out she was no longer there, I guess I got over “it” because I chose not to follow through and lost interest. I’m still thinking of contacting them to find a group. In the grieving process one thing I have found, at least for me, is the need to talk. I’m sure it’s the same for most.

PS I have not yet seen the film … but I will.

PSS Gratefully and thankfully my daugher is fine. Her brain lesion is gone, and one month after her second MRI in December, she went on to run the Houston Marathon and a PR – 4:20:07!


It was a NYC Marathon state of mind weekend

What an exhilarating weekend. The activity was non-stop and that included eating. I am now a proud mom of two NYC Marathon runners.

L. did great, running the race in 4:40:50, only 10 minutes off her goal. Race day weather was pitch perfect – not a cloud in the sky. A big thanks to friends and family for supporting L. and to my friends who stopped by to see mom. A bonus for me was meeting up with summer camp BFF R. Enjoy the photos!



This and That

I must be handling things better lately since I don’t always feel compelled to take it out on my keyboard. As I previously posted, when mom has a good day I have a good day. And I must say, mom is having good days (“knock on wood”).

I admire her upbeat, positive attitude. I just love the  excitement she shows when she’s had a great day of PT (which is lately). Like a little kid who has brought home a school paper with gold stars on it, mom is equally proud of her accomplishments.

To mark her progress, she is no longer in the big wheelchair but the one where you self-propel it with your feet. We both look forward to the day — hopefully really soon — when her primary mode of transportation is the walker.

Mom is now entering her fourth week of therapy and I’m praying that she will be able to get discharged next week. But, I know, safety is the #1 priority and I constantly remind her about that.

I guess on one level, she is marking her readiness by the discharges of several patients with whom she has become friends with. Today the latest one, who was her neighbor in Independent Living (IL), got discharged so now she needs to find new dining partners. Therapy and dining are the two big social times of the day when you’re with other people and not just sitting in your room, so it’s important that you’re matched with people similar to you at dinner. I’ll find that out tonight when I visit her after work.

M. and I will be out-of-town this weekend for a big event. When I see mom tonight I plan on bringing some cookies or a fruit tray for the nurses station. Yeah, maybe it’s a soft bribe to make sure mom is adequately looked after, but they are a nice bunch and I really do appreciate them and their attentiveness toward her. Sure, that’s their job, but…

Oh, the big event? One of my daughters, L., is running the NYC Marathon on Sunday! Her twin sister, D. (they’re fraternal), ran it in 2007, and the family will be there en force to cheer her on.

Can’t wait! Below is D. after her Marathon finish.