Thursday, September 11, 2014



Logan is now twenty six years old and is my mom's only grandchild. She adored him and I know deep down in the mist of "her world" that she still does. Yet today because of Alzheimer's I am unable to share with her the joy I am feeling.

On Sunday my son got engaged to a fabulous lady who mom would have loved. What a magical moment in all of our lives, one that I so badly wanted to share with her. I know in my heart how thrilled she would have been.

 As I picked up the phone to call the nursing home I knew even if I could get mom to listen that she would not be able to comprehend what I was saying to her. What I found even more upsetting was that she would not be able to remember. One of my favorite nurses answered and I was able to share my feelings with her. I had her promise me that she would tell mom, and as I hung up I was secure that my message would be delivered.

As I walked down the streets of Manhattan I started to cry. These were not tears of joy. They were tears of how much I missed mom and how I wished that she could truly hear me. For a few moments I was sad that I could not share this with her. I felt sickened by this disease and thought of how my mother was half alive. I longed for the part of her that once was here.

It's funny because every time that I have shared this with those who are dear to me, tears still flowed down my face. I think my husband expressed what I was feeling. He said that although my mom is still alive, because of her illness in many ways she is no longer here.

 I know that I am still fortunate that there are parts of her that exist and this is so much better than the alternative. I can still squeeze her hand and I can still hear her as she whispers in my ear that she loves me.

In January my son and future daughter-in-law will be visiting her. I look forward to seeing, if only for a moment, mom's excitement. It does not really matter how much mom can understand, as long as we can all celebrate, once again, this wonderful occasion.

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Thursday, September 4, 2014



My mom has opened my heart to a world filled with love & compassion. After she became ill she  blossomed into this beautiful flower with a breath of fresh air.

Although I can no longer speak to my mom every day, I awake each morning thinking of her smile and how she maneuvers around the nursing home sharing words of love.

She has become like a Buddha as she spreads joy to the aides, nurses and some of the other residents who also have Alzheimer's.

As upsetting as this disease can be it also fascinates me. I have watched as it has crept into my mother's life, removing what once existed in her universe.  Now I watch as she retreats into a "new"world.

I cannot help but wonder how Alzheimer's destroys some cells quicker than others, and why some people have it for years, while others succumb to it so quickly?

What magical quality does the sound of music have to those who have this disease? I have witnessed as they come to life when they hear the melodies . I have watched when my mother interacts with those who no longer speak and I see how they look at her as they utter several words.

 What makes some of their memories come to the surface while others disappear? Why does my mom think her home is with her parents? Does she go back to a time and place when she felt safe and secure? Does the world she now lives in frighten her, only wanting to return to her childhood home?

Do we think that in some ways our loved ones no longer exist and that they cannot hear our voices? Do we stop trying to communicate to them? For me I do believe that they do not disappear. I believe that even when we may think so that they are still listening.

With all of this being said, then how can we deal with our loved ones who now suffer from Alzheimer's? Can we, as caregivers, understand that maybe all they want is to be loved?

This is what people with Alzheimer's have demonstrated to me. They are no different than all of us for they have taught me about the power of love. They, as well as my mom, have shown me that love is all that matters.

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Tuesday, September 2, 2014



My brother and his wife while visiting my mother found her speaking to her "friend." They were able to capture this special moment which truly shows us how two people with Alzheimer's can connect. We as a family did not feel that my mother anymore was capable of this.

This is a touching video that shows us the intimacy two "friends" can have. While they held hands, my mother shared with Margaret how her daughter(me)did not come to visit her. From what I have just witnessed I am able to understand a little better.

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Friday, August 22, 2014



How can I find the words to express all the feelings bottled up in me since returning from spending four "precious" days with my mother? This was a special trip in which we celebrated her 90th Birthday.

The first two days mom was exuberant as she shared many different stories with us, some that made sense and others that did not. It didn't really matter what she said for it was a miracle that she was feeling so alive. Her smiles and laughter melted my heart. She was energetic and it reminded me of how she was before Alzheimer's crept into her life.

On day three she seemed more interested in running around in her Merry Walker than speaking to us, and, on day four, she expressed how tired she was, sounding more like a lost child, as she questioned every second what she should be doing.

Fortunately I was able to enjoy every moment with her and did reflect on my trip after I returned home. After sharing this with my husband I realized how much my heart ached for her and how much I already missed seeing her.

It will be four "long" months till I return to Florida. It's been difficult living so far away and having such limited time to share with her. This time in January I will be staying a whole month so I can spend more quality time with my mom.

Mom said some special things that I hope never to forget. The one I want to always remember was when we were walking down the hall together and she said that she "will always be my mother".

I know that she is my mother yet I still cannot help feeling how I want to take her in my arms and protect her from everything in her life that could possibly hurt her. I want to hold her, cuddle her, and kiss her as I tell her that everything will be alright.

Friends and family always ask me if my mom still knows me. I want to think so yet at other times I may not be sure. Today, I believe she knows she is my mother and that I am her daughter. It's a bond that can never be broken no matter how much Alzheimer's may steal from her.

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Friday, August 8, 2014



This photo was taken last year in August after mom entered the nursing home. She certainly looks happy and content in her new surroundings. Mom never wanted to leave her home, yet last year my brother and I decided that it was best for her. Fortunately, she had no idea where she was going or how she even got there. If there can be anything comforting about Alzheimer's it is that whatever upsetting feelings or thoughts that fill her mind disappear as quickly as they surface. It seems that they are washed away being forever lost at sea

In one week I will be visiting mom to celebrate her 90th Birthday. As the time approaches I start to feel excited and nervous. The combination of mixed emotions, whenever I go to visit her, has been happening for quite a few years.

Being a long distance caregiver I never know what to expect even though I speak to the nurses each day. My brother sends me pictures as well as keeping me abreast to his weekly visits. Since I do not see her as often I immediately witness the changes that Alzheimer's has had on her. I can see how much the disease has progressed.

I know that I must keep my upsetting feelings suppressed so that I may enjoy the time that I get to spend with her. I do not know how many more birthdays that I will be able to celebrate with mom, yet I know that each one of them is so very special. Turning 90 is no "spring chicken," although many people are living longer.

Each day that mom can still laugh, speak and smile is a day I cherish. Life is so precious and it is a treasure that she can still say my name. My love for her is so strong and to be able to celebrate her 90th birthday is a moment I will always remember. So, in less than a week, my sentimental voyage to mom will begin.

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Thursday, July 24, 2014



Most of the time mom seems to be so happy, strolling the halls of the nursing home stopping at every one's door to say hello. With a smile on her face she whispers that she "loves" them. 

The nurse have share with me that she stops to speak to some of the other patients who sit alone in their wheel chairs as they wait to be brought to an activity or the dining hall. I've been told that even those who no longer speak, at moments utter words to mom as she approaches them. She runs around in her Merry Walker nonstop, with so much energy, in search of something, or perhaps just being the "welcoming committee".

I've been told that everyone loves mom including the aides. She makes them laugh and smile. I personally witnessed this when I visited as they stopped to give her a big hello. Before mom became ill she was always friendly and stopped to speak to everyone she knew.

Now she is one of the few at the nursing home (on the Alzheimer floor) that still speaks and has mobility. She seems to attract much attention with her joyous disposition. Ruthie is turning 90 years old on August 24th, and is not on any medication; except for having Alzheimer's and macular degeneration, she perhaps, is healthier than most of us.

During the summer there are students at the nursing home who love to spend time with her. We are so fortunate that her personality is delightful and that this disease has not made her aggressive or agitated like so many others.

Who knows Ruthie one day might be elected the "mayor" of her facility or perhaps win the "most liked award". For me my mom, Ruthie, certainly is my sweetie.

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Thursday, July 17, 2014



I was so touched on my Birthday that I wish to dedicate this post to my(almost) sister-in-law Rochelle.

My birthday started off with waking up in the middle of the night from terrible cramps in both legs. This landed me in the emergency room after falling and banging my head. I received five stitches right above my eyebrow. All I could think about was getting out of the hospital and going upstate for a two hour boat ride on the Hudson and dining on the river. I certainly wasn't going to let this accident ruin my day.

I remember thinking about my mom and how she recently fell in the nursing home.She also had a bad cut (no stitches needed) right above her eye. Mom, because of Alzheimer's, could not understand what happened and kept trying to pull off her bandage. The hospice division assigned a 24 hour nurse for several days to make sure that mom was sturdy on her feet and would not fall again. I was pretty impressed with the care she was receiving.

I understood what happened with my accident and I thought about how mom could not recall anything about hers. The way she fell and how she hurt herself remains a mystery to all of us. Was she pushed, did she trip, or perhaps loose her balance? I was just happy that she did not lose her eye.

From the very first time that I met Rochelle almost 4 years ago, I was moved with how kind and understanding she was to my mother. Her own mother and grandmother had Alzheimer's so she understood what mom was going through. The sensitivity and caring that she showed mom came from deep within her. Ro's kindness deeply touched my heart.

On my birthday I received a message early in the morning from Ro saying that she was going to visit my mother today and would call me from the nursing home. She wanted me to be able to speak to mom on my birthday.

I thought that this was so sweet. When she phoned my mom was able to sing Happy Birthday to me, three different times. Each time she said my name she added in "sweet Lisa." Mom at the end of the song shared how much she loved me. It was truly a miracle.

My heart was filled with such joy as I melted from her words. As our day came to an end my  husband shared with me what a "trooper" I was. What started out as a fiasco ended up being such a special, special day. Not only was I able to speak to my mom, I was also able to hear her express her love. This turned out to be a Birthday which I will never be able to forget.

 P.S.Thank you Ro for being who you are.

Thursday, July 10, 2014



My mom gave birth to me. She raised me. She taught me right from wrong. Yet she has no idea when I was born. On good days I think she knows that I am her daughter and knows my name, and on other days she is not sure who I am. Then there are the moments that she thinks she has seven children.

After almost ten years I still find it hard to believe that Alzheimer's can rob my mother of her whole life. You would think that by now I would be able to understand this disease and how it removes one's world as if it never existed.

In my wildest imagination I cannot believe that if I were to become one of the unlucky ones,there could be a day that I, too, could no longer know my husband and son. This thought sends shock waves and chills through my entire body.

Quickly,I must remove myself from such a sad depressing thought. Today, I am free of this disease and, as I celebrate on July 12th my birthday, I will enjoy all the beautiful things that exist in my life. I will hold onto all the images that I adore and appreciate the warmth of the sun on my face. I will look at all the beauty that surrounds me and enjoy each and every day.

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.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014



Mom's smile surely melts my heart. This picture was taken several years ago. Alzheimer's had already taken over, yet when I look at this, she seems to be so healthy, free of any disease.

It is getting much harder to speak to her. I wonder if she misses the sound of my voice. Why should I be the only one missing her presence? She of course is my mother and mom's are suppose to always care and worry about their children.

That's the way it should be yet when one has dementia this is not how their universe works. Mom is carefree without a worry in the world. She doesn't need to know if it's sunny, raining, cold or warm. She does not have to think about what to wear, nor what she'd like to eat. She does not need to plan what friend she would like to see or what movie she'd like to go to.

In her world she is surrounded with no worries, no delights, no sadness, and no joy.What a sad place to exist in. I wonder why she spends almost every wakening hour walking the halls of her nursing home in her Merry Walker. What can she possibly be looking for? What could she be thinking?

Perhaps she's looking for a way to escape, not just her surroundings, but also her world. I decided to present the same question to all the different nurses. "Why do you think my mother roams the halls all day long?" Their answers were all different, yet some of the staff thought the same.

" Compulsive behavior. She must have been like that before."

" Likes to talk to people.Looking for people to be with."

" She's very friendly. She's happy walking around and must like it."

" She has lots of energy. Her mind tells her she has to go."

" Anxiety, nervousness. Releasing tension."

" Maybe she feels good. She's in control of something almost like driving a car. Sense of independence."

"She must have liked walking and in her brain it has kicked back in."

With all moms' roaming, I hear that she still mentions she has to go home. To her, home is with her mother claiming that her mom is worried and looking for her. Back in August when she first entered the nursing home this was the theme she kept repeating.

I guess I'll never understand why she does what she does. I'm not complaining for mom is getting a lot of exercise which is important. I only wish that I could understand why she roams around all day.

If I asked her I'm sure that she'd reassure me that she's happy and doing just fine. My mom would never want me to worry; she would only want the best for me.

Nothing would delight her more than to always see a smile on my face and joy in my heart. Whenever I see her smile, I feel such warmth and I seem to glow from deep within my soul.


Thursday, June 19, 2014

                                ALZHEIMER'S THE LONGEST DAY- JUNE 21
   ALZHEIMER'S THE LONGEST DAY-June 21 to honor the strength, passion and endurance of those facing Alzheimer's . I Honor my Mother and all of your Mothers.
                                                   MY MOM MY HERO

Friday, June 6, 2014



I just love her smile, laughter and the spirit that resonates throughout her. One second she can light up my life while the next moment I can feel a deep sadness within my soul for her. Living far apart does not make it any easier.

When mom first became ill and for several years thereafter, I kept inviting her to move back to her home town, New York. Her answer was always the same. "I'm never moving back, for I love my home".

I knew that it was impossible to relocate to Florida, and since my brother lived nearby, I accepted and respected her wishes. I often wondered why she would not want to be near me, nor her favorite one and only grandson. New York was where she was born and raised, a place she had lived with my father till they moved in 1985.

The distance that now lies between us is something that bothers me very much. I only get to see her every few months for a couple of days and, after I leave, she no longer knows that I was even there. I'm always left with different feelings about how she is doing. I question her mere existence of what I describe as "nothingness".

My next scheduled trip is in mid August, when I will be celebrating mom's 90th Birthday. I'm thrilled for I have decided to make her a party at the nursing facility. A surprise one at that! Yes, she'll enjoy the cake and songs, although I wonder who this celebration really is for. Her or me?.

The other morning I received a phone call from hospice who shared with excitement how well mom was doing, and that they would be removing her from their care. I replied with "oh that's good news," although that was not exactly how I was feeling.

If mom had a chance of recovery, I would be jumping for joy, yet understanding this disease, I really cannot feel too delighted.

I wish that mom and I could be living closer. Then I would be able to spend whatever precious time I have left with her. I just know that she is a long, long way from home. A distance that is much too far away for me.

My love for her is so deep that I wish she could live another ninety years!

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Wednesday, May 28, 2014



If my mother could really understand, she would be so proud of her children, not that she wasn't before her illness. It's just different now. My brother and I have become closer than we ever were before. Mom's disease has bonded us with a deeper sense of love, and for me I have gained a different respect for my brother.

She is the reason for everything. She is my shining star. Mom has stirred up so many emotions, all filled with love. She has opened my eyes and world to many things that I might never have thought were possible. Without her, I never would have started writing this blog.

Yet, I am not capable to do the same for her. I miss and yearn to hear the sound of her voice, her words, her thoughts and her opinions. How I wish that she could share her feelings with me. I wonder what might still exist in her universe.

Over this holiday weekend my husband and I took a ride to the country. I cherished seeing the brilliance of blue skies and the trees as their bright lush leaves glistened in the sunshine. There was a warm breeze that felt divine as my hair swirled in circles. I was feeling alive as I embraced all the natural beauty that surrounded me.

I then thought of my mother, how she can no longer appreciate any of this. Because of Alzheimer's her eyes can no longer recognize the glorious blue skies, nor the lush trees. I started thinking that her world has been robbed from her. It is no longer just her memory, but the simple beautiful things in life that no longer exist for her. I drifted into thinking, what sort of existence is this?

I know that ones life can end in a split second. With Alzheimer's it has been ten years that we keep watching her disappear into her world; a world that is certainly unknown.

I know that my mother is still alive yet I question, "is she"? With every breath I take I pray that  a cure will be found for this horrific disease. A disease that not only robs you from seeing the world through rose colored glasses, but destroys a life that was once worth living.

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