Monday, March 27, 2017



Since mom became quite ill during my visit in January I have been affected in many way. Just watching her disappear from Alzheimer's for the last fourteen years had been grueling enough. I had to accept that her world was climaxing and could end rather quickly.

Even though I have prepared myself, I realize that when the time comes I will be in mourning for the loss of my mother. She will become just another statistic and I will be parentless like so many others my age.

People often ask if I fear that I will get Alzheimer's. My answer is always the same. I do not fear it, although I am aware, when I cannot remember something as simple as an actor's name. Not only does my mother have Alzheimer's her younger brother also had it and passed away within a few years. I recognize that my chances are greater than someone else whose family has no history of this disease.

Amazingly enough mom's "world", if only, for the moment has changed. Changed in a way that I was not ready for, nor, maybe I didn't really wish to happen. She seems to have bounced back with a reborn energy. Her nurse reassured me that mom was once again back to "herself", feisty, eating well and maybe even better than before. My immediate reaction was feeling elated yet mixed with some sense of reality. I went so far as to fantasize that mom who is 92 years old might now live to 100.

My heart previously had been telling me that mom had given up. Once again she has proved me wrong! Or should I say knowing all too well, that this "rebirth" may only last for a day, month, or year until mom can no longer go on.

While I am on this whirlwind I cannot help but feel the bumps and curves as Alzheimer's continues to speed along its tracks. There are so many times I wish for this ride to come to an end.

Why am I not fully able to go with the flow? Am I not prepared for this roller coaster ride? I know that I am not being a pessimist. Could it be that I am just being a realist? How silly of me for how could I not want  mom to have "good "days. Of course I do. For some, this may seem like a miracle yet anyone who understands this disease knows that it cannot last.

In the world of dementia the patient does not get to win. There is no cure.

 MY MOM MY HERO - A mother & daughters new found love.

Sunday, March 5, 2017



For the last fourteen years I have witnessed my mother slowly disappearing from Alzheimer’s. With a heavy heart I go through the process of grieving and realize that through my writings I have begun to heal myself.
Is it possible for me to share all the feelings that are so deeply embedded within my soul?

This past January my husband and I were in Florida where mom resides (in a nursing home) to spend every day with her. In the past four years, each January, we witnessed mom transform day by day as she became more aware of the world around her.

I had realized that mom would not be like last year yet I could never have imagined that from a bad cold, her world and mine would shatter.

I mainly sat by her side, held her hand, stroked her face and told her how much I loved her. Mom has now entered into in the last stages of Alzheimer’s. How I wish that I could have her peacefully go to sleep; instead of what could take many months or years for her to say goodbye.
Her words are now seldom, her eyes mostly shut closed. Her walking around the nursing home has come to a halt for she no longer has the will nor energy to carry on.

She occasionally opens her eyes and, once in a while, she would smile. I was able to steal a few kisses yet even the sound of music that once delighted her, could not bring forth any signs of joy.
Witnessing her withdraw from the world was quite painful. As my thoughts surfaced I took to pen and paper to share my most inner deep feelings. My prayers were not answered as I had prayed for her to pass away. I knew that mom would never want to exist like this. I also wanted to take away the pain I was feeling, knowing that there could be no recovery.

I question why my mom got sick while I was here? Why couldn’t we have been able to share some special moments like we had done in previous years? Couldn’t she have waited to after I left? How silly of me to even think this way.  I know no one gets to choose when or where.

MY MOM MY HERO - A mother & daughters new found love.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017


This picture was taken about 6 years ago (mom had AD yet she was still at home). I wrote this blog post in December 2016(not that long ago). So much has changed with mom since then.

She caught a really bad cold and for over a month she now lays most of the time with her eyes shut. She appears to be "lifeless" except for a few moments that I was able to capture with her during my month long visit(January 2017).

Blog Post- Dec 2016

My brother called me the other day while he was visiting our mother at the nursing home. I unfortunately missed the call yet he left a message asking mom to say hello to me. Hearing her  say "Hi Lisa," immediately brought me back to a time when mom was whole. Her voice was filled with strength and definition.

Mom sounded as if she was free and clear of Alzheimer's. Her voice and tone was the mom that I always knew. I wondered how this could be. Is it possible that mom still has moments of being herself? At these times could she have a flashing thought wondering what is happening to her? A thought that disappears as quickly as it comes.

I will never know the answers and maybe it's better that way. My desire is only to protect her from  anything that can cause her heartache or pain. I wish to cuddle her in my arms, as if she were my own child and reassure her that everything will be okay.

I realize that what is left with mom is to try to enjoy whatever moments we have together. I want to sit with her, talk to her, touch her and hold her. I want to sing with her, laugh with her, and just be there for her. I want to show her and have her feel all the love I have for her; never questioning whether she knows if I am her daughter.

There are things that we can never get back yet I want to remember the things that I loved, and also the things she did that drove me crazy.  I want to remember her lectures to me, her humor, her support and all her imperfections. She was never perfect yet neither was I.

She is still my mom, and the journey that we have been on together for over fourteen years has at times been difficult yet, mostly, one filled with love.

I cannot take Alzheimer's from her and though it breaks my heart as I watch her disappear, it  has opened my heart to a place that I did not realize even existed. It has made me closer with her and has turned my love into one that is unconditional.

MY MOM MY HERO - A mother & daughters new found love.

Friday, December 23, 2016



In a few days I will be arriving in Florida to see my mother. I did this for the last three years, allowing me to spend an entire month with her. I usually feel a combination of excitement and nervousness yet this year, I am scared.

My brother recently sent me a video which upset me. Mom seemed far more advanced, almost as if she did not exist. She said a few words, was unresponsive not having much expression. I am hoping that with my daily visits she will somehow reappear.

This past Friday night as I was thinking I knew all too well that she had no idea of the day, time or year. She is unaware that I will soon be coming to see her. She most likely has no idea that I even exist. The world that is so present in my universe does not exist in hers.

It feels as if Alzheimer's has taken over. It has conquered and left mom with little awareness of any life on this planet. She is locked away in a land of make believe, a land of no existence. I am grateful that she appears not to be suffering.

This journey that we are now on is getting much more difficult. I am filled with guilt and sadness,  at moments wanting her to go to sleep. How could I wish for this with my own mother? Am I cruel, or am I humane?

While she is still alive she rarely ever smiles. When someone with Alzheimer's does not smile, and shows little emotion, it appears that they are nearing the end. In mom's case, I have to believe, given her constitution, the end is not so near.

I miss her deeply and being able to touch her face and hold her hand should be enough, yet it still sharply pains me. How I yearn to share my life with her and wish that she could really understand when I whisper the words " I love you".

Alzheimer's is a cruel disease that wipes away ones dignity and life as it enters and attacks their brain cells. Some people succumb rather quickly while my mother has Alzheimer's for fourteen years and still counting.

At this moment many scientists are searching for a prevention or cure and are hoping that within 15- 20 years it will come. That is a long time away but for future generations it would be a blessing.

 MY MOM MY HERO - A mother & daughters new found love.

Friday, November 25, 2016



Several months ago on my birthday I awoke with a strong yearning to speak to my mother. I was feeling as if I just wanted her to hold me as she once did when I was a small child. There was a feeling of emptiness knowing that this was no longer possible, yet I still just wanted to hear her voice.

I phoned the nursing home and spoke to the head of nursing and asked her if she would tell mom that it was my birthday. She brought mom to the phone and after she sang two words of Happy Birthday to me she just dropped the phone. Mom then told the nurse that I was her "mother" not her daughter.

My mother no longer wants to speak on the telephone and has trouble putting it next to her ear. She finds it too confusing and can no longer understand where my voice is coming from. I realize, again, how her world keeps shrinking more and more each day.

I have heard mom mix up words before so calling me her mother did not upset me. Maybe just the opposite for I know how much she loved and adored her own mother.

Life can be strange for there was a time when mom would call me once a week. She would share that she was calling because she did not hear from me and was worried. I remember feeling annoyed, even rolling my eyes, and telling her that I had not called because I was very busy; back then all I really wanted to do was just rush her off the phone.

What wouldn't I give to just to hear her phone me. Who would ever have thought that this disease, known as Alzheimer's, could invade her world and sweep it away as if it never existed?

In many ways I have become the parent and my mom has become the child. A child that needs to be taken care of and, sadly enough, a child that will never grow up.

Mom keeps reverting backwards into a world that one day will no longer exist. I now know that with this disease our roles reverse and somehow the past becomes the present.

So my sweet mom you can call me your mother whenever you wish, and I will always feel honored.

MY MOM MY HERO - A mother & daughters new found love.


Thursday, October 27, 2016



A few years ago I recall defending myself from some other caregivers. They thought I should not consider myself mom's caregiver, reasoning that since I lived far away I did not care for her in the same way that they did. Their words stung me deeply and had me momentarily question myself.

I could feel compassion for their situation, yet I too, had the agony of hearing and seeing my mother disappear in front of my very eyes. One moment she knew my name and the next she had no idea who I was. My heart felt equally broken as theirs and I questioned why would they judge me?

Was I any less of a daughter to my mother because I did not live near her? Unfortunately, I could not just pick up and move to another state, and my mother refused to leave her home. I am my mother's daughter that will never change, no matter how many miles may separate us.

Before moving mom into the nursing home for years I spoke to her caregivers every single day to hear how she was doing and to help plan her day. I questioned what she ate, if she took her vitamins and if she gave them a hard time when she was being bathed. I also delighted in hearing how mom loved to sing along to the CD'S that I made for.

There were moments when mom sounded great and there were other times when I was so frightened yet unable to just jump in my car and rush over to her. I remember when they called an ambulance to take mom to the emergency room after her aides discovered she had bruises (from a fall) that she could not tell us about. Then there were the times she was hallucinating which was due to a urinary tract infection (UTI).

Once, when she was in the rehab hospital I spoke to the physical therapist who told me that my mother was not following instructions. I responded "how could mom possibly remember what you just said since she has Alzheimer's." The therapist answered, “oh I didn't know she had dementia.”

Then there was the time I received a call from a first response team who was not able to reach my brother. Mom's neighbors reported her "just sitting" outside her apartment on the curb. Her caregiver left for the day and because of confusion mom went to sit outside to wait for her. You would think that one of her neighbors would have just brought her back into her home. After all these years of knowing her how could they now just shun her like this?

The time was approaching to place mom into a nursing home my brother and I realizing she needed twenty-four hour care. Talk about feeling guilty and confused. How could we do this to mom? Her wishes were to stay in her home till she died.

Mom now has been in a nursing home for 3 ½ years and my brother and I know that it was the correct thing to do. I still call every day and speak to the nurses to see how she is doing. I may only get to visit her every few months yet the staff knows that I take a very active interest in her well-being. Mom no longer knows where she is living yet my brother and I feel secure with the care that she is receiving.

So with deep thought my question is am I any less of a daughter than the others since I am a long distance caregiver? The answer is clear to me. I am my mother’s daughter and no matter how many miles apart we are the love and concern I have for her is as deep as the bottom of the ocean. She is my mother and I will always be her daughter, which also includes being her caregiver.


MY MOM MY HERO - A mother & daughters new found love.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016



When I am interviewed for a podcast or radio show I seem to cringe when I am introduced as my mother's caregiver; for in my very soul, deep in my heart, I am first my mother's daughter and then her caregiver.

After looking up both words in the dictionary I found several different meanings. A daughter is a female child or person in relation to parents; a caregiver is a person who cares for someone who is sick or disabled.

A name I wish to be called is mom's "caredaughter". Although "caredaughter" does not exist in the dictionary I truly prefer the way it sounds.

In the last several years I know our roles have reversed, although what remains and cannot be taken from me is that I am her daughter .

Recently, I shared with a friend that on my last visit with mom it was so meaningful to just hold her hand. Since my return my friend asked, did I miss holding my mother's hand? My answer was simple. "No I don't miss holding her hand, what I do miss is not being able to share my life with her. Mom is still alive yet the world she now lives in is a world I may not exist in."

I then reversed the question and asked "can you ever imagine one day not knowing that you have two children named John and Alice, or that you are married for forty years, or that you have two sisters?" She looked at me and could not answer.

I have come to realize that unless you have a loved one with Alzheimer's you cannot really understand this disease.

Since mom is living with this disease for over thirteen years I know how fortunate am to still have this time to spend with her, yet throughout the years, I have been saying my "goodbyes".

Alzheimer's disease is not only mind boggling, it also can be a very long journey as we watch our loved ones disappear. They no longer live in our world so we somehow must learn to live in theirs.

Regardless of how many years mom and I may have left, today and always, she is my mother, and I will first always be her daughter. I love you mom, more than words could ever say.

MY MOM MY HERO - A mother & daughters new found love. 

Sunday, August 21, 2016



I cannot get out of my mind the song Alfie; "What's it all about Alfie? Is it just for the moment we live?"

As I sit and ponder what really exists in my mother's mind I cannot help but wonder who she thinks she is.  Unfortunately, mom can no longer provide me the answers I yearn to hear.

In the world mom now lives in, each day, after she wakes up she is taken care of and fed by aides. We are lucky that after thirteen years of having Alzheimer's she still can speak.

After she is washed and dressed she is then placed in her Merry Walker where she spends hours walking the halls of the nursing home in search of something or someone.

Since mom became ill, I have never seen any tears fall from her eyes. Actually, as a child, I cannot even recall her crying after her own mother passed away. She once shared with me that she cried every day for over a year, in the bathroom, for no one else to see.

How I wish I could know who is that something or someone she is searching for. Is it her parents, or could it be me? Probably her parents since she frequently is speaking about them.

I realize how fortunate we are for that most days mom seems content as she throws kisses and tells all the employees that she loves them.

I read so much about Amyloid plaques and tangles yet the scientists are unable to understand what is really going on in the thinking process of people with this disease.

How I hunger to ask her; are you happy or are you sad? Are you frightened or are you okay? Are you lonely? Is there anything that you would like me to do for you? Is there something that you would like to tell me? Do you know what is happening to you? Can you understand how deeply I love you?

I know there is a universe that mom now lives in, one that is real to her. Yet for me I cannot help but wonder what is going on in her world. So as the song goes "What's it all about Alfie? Is it just for the moment we live?"

I realize there are things that I will never understand and questions that will never be answered, yet as her daughter I need to believe that in her world she is sound, safe and happy.

After all these years, as each day goes by, Alzheimer's still remains a mystery to all of us.

MY MOM MY HERO - A mother & daughters new found love.


Wednesday, August 3, 2016



One evening, several weeks ago, I received a call from the nursing home where my mom has lived for the past three years. One can imagine the uncertainty I felt when I answered the phone.

Immediately the nurse said "everything's okay I just need to tell you that your mom was unresponsive today.” As I heard the word "unresponsive" my heart sank. I asked many questions as she proceeded to explain what had transpired.

My husband said as he looked at me that I appeared to have lost all the color in my face. His first thought was that mom had passed away until he heard me repeating what the nurse was saying.

I did not sleep soundly that night fearful that I would get a call that mom had passed away. The next morning my brother rushed to the nursing home where tests were already being performed.

Mom's unresponsiveness only lasted for a few moments, yet it was something that was new and felt quite scary. The blood results found that mom (93 years in August), in several ways, scored like a 40 year old. Her constitution is amazing, she is on no medication and, except for Alzheimer's and macular degeneration and she is the picture of health.

The next day I booked a plane to go and see her. Before leaving I called several times each day to make sure that she was doing okay. Each time I was told that she was running around in her Merry Walker. Mom bounced back rather quickly and I was happy that I was going to see her, even if it was just for three days.

After returning home my body felt stressed and my heart ached as if I was going through withdrawal. I missed seeing her and could not stop thinking about her. Again I kept phoning the nursing home to see how she was doing. Mom was doing fine, it was me who needed to "mend".

I kept thinking is she looking for me? Does she wonder where I am? Is she missing holding my hand, singing songs, or our silly conversations? Does she yearn to see me like a teenage girl, or am I in this all by myself? Is my heart hurting alone or can she also feel the pain?

I write as if she is my lover. No, she's my mother, yet I love her in so many similar ways. I know the answers to all these questions for the second I am no longer in her sight, she does not know that I was even there. In fact, when I am with her, she does not always know that I am her daughter.

None of this matters for in my heart and I deeply believe that in hers, we share a bond that only a mother and daughter could feel.

MY MOM MY HERO - A mother & daughters new found love.


Monday, July 11, 2016



I will be celebrating my birthday July 12th and I, who never made a big deal about this day, now feel differently. I find it sad that the woman who gave birth to me has no memory of this day, or in fact, any other day. Mom for the last thirteen years has been suffering from Alzheimer's.

The sorrowful part is that each year as I get older I loose a little bit more of her. Having a child of my own I cannot imagine that I might one day not remember bringing him into the world; or perhaps that I even had a child.  How could a disease like this invade one's mind and destroy a life that once was? This thought sends shock waves and chills through my entire body.

Alzheimer's is a rotten disease yet mom has been one of the more "fortunate" ones. The disease has not left her agitated and she seems to have opened her heart to more love. It is I, who feels the effects of the disease.

In mom's mind she still remembers me (and my brother) as a young child. Her mind has traveled back in time to thinking she still lives with her parents. A place and time for her that she once felt safe, loved and secure. Everything else has pretty much disappeared, so how could she in her mind now have a daughter all grown up? It's almost as if time has stood still.

Forgetting my birthday is the easy part, it's when I think about how she now lives and all the things she can no longer do, that I get upset. The simple things like getting out of bed each morning, feeding herself, getting dressed, combing her hair or brushing her teeth. These are things she no longer can do, yet I do them each morning maybe taking "life" for granted.

Mom does not realize how different her life has become because she has no memory of what her life once was. For her this is a "blessing", and for me it is being able to "accept" how things now are.

So mom, whether you can remember holding me in your arms as I took my first breath or tying my shoes as the laces came undone; this no longer matters. As long as you are not in pain and seem to be "relatively" content then I guess for now, as I blow out my birthday candles, there is not too much more that I could wish for.

I love you mom and will always be grateful that you are the mom who for many years put candles in my cakes; and as the years went by, you watched me grow up into a young lady, get married and have a child of my own.
I cannot thank my parents enough for bringing me into this world and for all the love that they gave me. I know that if mom could find the words she would surely wish me a Happy Birthday and share with me how very much she loves me. If only she could remember.

Other blog postings My Mom My hero can also be found

MY MOM MY HERO book is dedicated to my mother and yours. 
Available on Amazon & Kindle & Audio.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016



Many moons ago my mom's world was sunny and bright. It was filled with excitement, love and joy. She had no idea that one day her entire life would vanish, as if it never existed. Truth be told, neither did I, for I had never heard of Alzheimer's.

Mom as a child loved to read and as I was growing up she always stressed this to me. Even into her later years mom yearned to continue learning. Her passion for knowledge was important to her. She loved to read and, through reading, taking college courses, she continued to stimulate herself. Sadly enough she can no longer do either of these things.

Today, because of this dreadful disease, almost everything she learned has disappeared. She has been robbed, even more, by having the memory of her entire life swept away as if it never existed.

My brother just returned to Florida after visiting me in New York. As he was here I continued to place my daily calls to the nursing home. With each call I reminded the nurses that my mother would not be having any family visitors for the next two weeks. I was well aware of her being all alone and somehow I was trying to protect her. Yet in her world she had no awareness of this.

This realization had me wondering about all the other people who live in a nursing home (especially those with Alzheimer's), and have no family or friends who come to visit them. Perhaps they are "locked away" without any key to free themselves from this awful world they now live in.

Although the facility my mom now lives in has no fancy hallways, activity rooms or bedrooms, the nurses and aides all seem to be committed and happy. When I think of the kindness and care that my mother is receiving I feel a sense of security, and know that this is what is most important.

My heart could easily break in two, if I allowed myself to think how my mom just wanders the hallways alone each day. She appears mesmerized, lost in her world not knowing where to go and what to do.

After hearing that someone from my Alzheimer’s support group mom just passed away I was filled with many different emotions. Some wanting my mom to be at peace while at the same time realizing how final that would be.
I do know that in some ways I am fortunate that my mom is still alive for the love I feel for her is deep and pure. I also know that each day I lose my mother a little more yet at the same time I also get to love her more.


My Mom My Hero Book is available on Amazon.

Sunday, May 22, 2016



I recently watched the powerful documentary Glen Campbell’s-“I’ll Be Me”. It left me with a feeling of respect, as well as pain for his family. Since my own mother has Alzheimer’s for the last twelve years, I completely understand for I have been walking down a similar path. The film also reminded me of something I had written in September 2012, which was a conversation that I had with my mother.
On one of my many visits to Florida to see mom, I had decided that I wanted to interview her. The way she responded touched my heart in a deep profound way. I would love to share this with you.                     

"Mom, what does it feel like not to be able to remember something?” She responded, "It’s not always so bad not to remember everything.”

Several years earlier I had presented a similar question to her, where her answer was quite touching. Mom said “I know that whatever happened yesterday to me had to be nice, whether I can remember it or not.” Through the years that mom has Alzheimer’s there certainly have been moments when she becomes her own Buddha.  

I never fear asking her any questions, for I know that immediately everything disappears from her memory. Since this disease runs in my family when I forget simple things I am quite aware of it. It’s funny because I never think about getting cancer for my mom has been cancer free. Yet when it comes to Alzheimer’s I do kid around about it, yet deep inside the question still remains.

Back to my past interview: I continue with," mom is all this scary to you?”  Her quick reply is "no it's not scary because if you cannot remember something, you just don't remember it.”  With wisdom mom was able to answer so easily.

She then started to reminisce about her own mother and growing up in Williamsburg and Coney Island, Brooklyn."Mom do you remember your mother's name?” “Of course, it was Pauline Schnitzer.” "Mom, what's your name?” "Ruth Schnitzer,” and "what was your father's name?”  She simply says, "I cannot remember.” With sadness I say his name was Louie.

I wonder if she knows my father’s name. Better yet does she remember him? How could she not for they were married for fifty years. She has to, it's my dad! She does not remember. 

"Mom how many brother's or sister's do you have?” “I have both a brother and a sister,” she answers. No mom, I say to myself, you had only one younger brother who died from Alzheimer's.  I decided to lighten up and move away from this conversation.

I have been back home for almost a week now and each day that I speak to her she seems to have some recollection that I was there. Mom said that when she woke up she was looking all over her home for me, and could not find me. It saddened me that we live so far apart. It makes my heart ache. So, do I jump on a plane and run back to her?

I often wonder how this little lady who stands only 4 feet ten inches can melt my heart in such a way that I cannot contain my love for her. 

This interview took place when mom was still living at home. Since writing this in 2012 so much has changed. Mom has been living in a nursing home for almost three years. She still speaks about her parents and most of the time does not know my name.

Most of her memory is gone yet, on a more positive note, she is still mobile and able to speak. For this I am quite grateful.