Thursday, July 24, 2014

RUTHIE MY SWEETIE


RUTHIE MY SWEETIE


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.


MY MOM MY HERO is for all the special people in your lives. Over 100 great reviews.

Available on Amazon & Kindle worldwide.

http://www.amazon.com/Mom-Hero-Alzheimers-A-daughters-bittersweet/dp/0615773982/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1389797650&sr=8-1&keywords=lisa+hirsch

Thursday, July 17, 2014

MOM, ROCHELLE & ME



MOM, ROCHELLE & ME

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 BIRTHDAY MOM CANNOT REMEMBER


MY BIRTHDAY MOM CANNOT REMEMBER


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

I LOVE HER SMILE


I LOVE HER SMILE


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

A LONG, LONG WAY FROM HOME


A LONG, LONG WAY FROM HOME

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!


Available on Amazon & Kindle worldwide.

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Wednesday, May 28, 2014

WITH EVERY BREATH I TAKE



WITH EVERY BREATH I TAKE

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.


 
MY MOM MY HERO is for all the special people in your lives. Over 150 great reviews.

Available on Amazon & Kindle worldwide.

http://www.amazon.com/Mom-Hero-Alzheimers-A-daughters-bittersweet/dp/0615773982/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1389797650&sr=8-1&keywords=lisa+hirsch

 

Thursday, May 15, 2014

SENTIMENTAL FEELINGS


SENTIMENTAL FEELINGS

As I sat down to write my blog post I started thinking about this past Sunday, when it was Mother's Day. Mine was a special one, since I was able to celebrate and be with my son.

Of course I missed seeing my mom and called the nursing home several times trying to wish her a Happy Mother's Day.  I was unable to reach her, yet I did speak to the nurse and asked her to please send mom my love and kisses. In truth it did not really matter for mom would not understand what I was speaking about.

The distance between us keeps us apart, although I think that I was missing more the pieces of mom that are no longer present. I missed the laughter and conversations that we once shared. I missed being able to call her and describe what was happening in my life.

I wanted to get away from feeling unhappy, so I decided to choose a picture for my blog that would bring me some joy.  I picked a picture of my mother and father from the mid eighties. Logan, my son was around three years old, and mom and dad in their early sixties. These were very happy times, ones that I love to recall and reminisce about.

Today mom's journey is so different. She is slipping away more each day, and dad passed away over nineteen years ago. Life seems to go round in circles, the young grow up, we become older, as life continues to moves on. 

I choose to focus on the brighter days, ones that were filled with a love so pure and strong. I hope that the memories I have of my parents will remain with me. I want to cherish whatever life I have left, and to feel as much happiness that each day can bring.

Today is a gift for no one knows what tomorrow holds. So let's try to celebrate our lives and not hold on to the things that are troubling us.

I wish that I could take away mom's Alzheimer's and bring her back to whole, yet I cannot. Having the strength to be thankful for what we have, is certainly a gift that I want to treasure.


 
MY MOM MY HERO is for all the special people in your lives. Over 150 great reviews.

Available on Amazon & Kindle worldwide.

http://www.amazon.com/Mom-Hero-Alzheimers-A-daughters-bittersweet/dp/0615773982/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1389797650&sr=8-1&keywords=lisa+hirsch

Thursday, May 1, 2014

WHAT IS A MOTHER?



WHAT IS A MOTHER?


If we asked the question what is a mother, there would be quite a few different answers, though most would be filled with love.

 I have found some that I would like to share:
"A mother is someone who loves unconditionally and places the needs of her children above her own, on a personal level, and not only with words, but also actions."

"A mother is someone who loves you and who cares for you in every way. She sits down and listens to what you have to say."

"A mother is the one who loves, nurtures, raises, finds puzzle pieces, helps with homework, kisses booboos, and reads bedtime stories".

"Choosing to adopt is sometimes an agonizing decision, but such a great one. Providing a child with love and a home, what could be better? Mother can be a birth mom, technically. To be a mommy, that is the real privilege."

"Mother is the woman who raises you, who is there for you to hold and comfort you when you are sick or hurt, the woman who laughs with you, who cries with you, who loves you, even when you aren't exactly lovable, for whatever reason. This is a"real"mother."

"There are many descriptions of the word mother, and many are applicable. Only those with "closed eyes" can't see that there are many meanings to "mother." A person who gives birth is a mother. A person who raises a child is mother. A person who loves and cares for a child is a mother."

"Being a mother is the hardest job in the world!"

Each one of us who has a mother with Alzheimer's, or has lost a mother to Alzheimer's, or any other illness, know that they will always be our mother. The love they feel in their hearts for us, whether they can express it or not, will always remain.

As my mom drifts further and further away and our roles have reversed, it is a privilege for me to love, cherish and care for her as she had done for me. I myself am a mother, I know so well that being a mother is one of the hardest and most rewarding jobs in the world!

Please take a moment and reflect ,with a smile on your face and joy in your heart, of how lucky we are to have had our mothers. This disease might have stolen them from us, yet not all the love that they have showed us.

Although my mom most likely has no idea what Mother's Day means, I want to share with her all the love I have in my heart for her, today and forever. For all the other mothers I wish you all a very Happy Mother's Day.


MY MOM MY HERO book is dedicated to my mother and yours.  Over 150 great reviews.

Available on Amazon & Kindle worldwide.

http://www.amazon.com/Mom-Hero-Alzheimers-A-daughters-bittersweet/dp/0615773982/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1389797650&sr=8-1&keywords=lisa+hirsch

Thursday, April 24, 2014

A DEEP & PURE LOVE



 A DEEP & PURE LOVE


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.

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, and taking college courses, she continued to stimulate herself.

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 aware of her being all alone that somehow I was trying to protect her. Yet in her world I'm sure she did not even realize 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 to visit them. Perhaps they are "locked away" without any key to free them from this awful world they now live in.  It is a world entwined and disguised as one.

Although the facility that my mom now lives in has no fancy hallways, activity rooms or bedrooms,  the nurses and aides all seem happy. When I think of the kindness and care that my mother is receiving I feel some sense of security and know 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 seems to be mesmerized, lost in her world not knowing where to go and what to do.

I realize I am fortunate that my mom is still alive. The love I feel for her is deep and pure,  a bond that can never be broken. Each day I lose my mother a little more, yet each day I also get to love her some more.


MY MOM MY HERO is for everyone who loves their mother. Over 150 great reviews.

Available on Amazon & Kindle worldwide.

http://www.amazon.com/Mom-Hero-Alzheimers-A-daughters-bittersweet/dp/0615773982/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1389797650&sr=8-1&keywords=lisa+hirsch

Friday, April 4, 2014

EVERLASTING LOVE


EVERLASTING LOVE

I once believed that all mothers and daughters were close. This was not necessarily true for mom and me.  During my teenage years we had moved to a new town. Wanting to feel accepted by the other girls was important to me . As my"new"friends came over to my home, I felt embarrassed  as my mother hung around asking them many questions . My friends though didn't seem to mind, for they kept coming back.

Out of my own insecurities this left me with an uncomfortable feeling towards my mother. I know that we loved one another, just that over time it seemed that our personalities clashed more and more. While living on my own I phoned once a week, just so I wouldn't hear her complain about not  hearing from me. 

For many years we had our share of ups and downs. When my dad passed away, amazingly enough my mom and I got along fabulously. Then without warning our disagreements re-emerged. Yet immediately after mom became ill, there was a major shift  in how I felt toward her. In a strange way I was given a second chance to love her unconditionally.

During these last months since mom entered the nursing home, I found myself filled with many different emotions. I often questioned the quality of her life. This in turn brought up feelings about my own mortality.

As her disease progresses, I have wondered if she really knows who I am. Sometimes I think yes and at other times I am not so sure. Then the other day mom described to my brother's fiancee that her daughter Lisa lived far away in New York City. Mom at that moment had some clarity.  Alzheimer's disease bewilders me. How can one's whole world disappear, and then reappear only to last for a minute?

Recently I have felt some contentment. I no longer wish that mom would peacefully go to sleep. I recognize that I am blessed, for I know that I can still feel the tenderness of her touch and hear the sweetness of her voice. What I do not know, is how long this will last.

While visiting, I witnessed  mom sharing her kisses with all the nurses. I watched and listened as she told them that she loved them. My family is fortunate that my mother is still filled with love and not frustration and anger like some other's who suffer from this disease.

My mom, who I love so deeply, has opened up my heart in many ways.This everlasting love I feel for her is embedded deep into my soul. Today and always she remains my hero.


MY MOM MY HERO is for all the special people in your lives. Over 150 great reviews.

Available on Amazon & Kindle worldwide.

http://www.amazon.com/Mom-Hero-Alzheimers-A-daughters-bittersweet/dp/0615773982/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1389797650&sr=8-1&keywords=lisa+hirsch

Sunday, March 23, 2014

"POETIC" CLOSURE


"POETIC" CLOSURE

Before I left to see my mother a nurse told her that I was on the telephone. My mom then replied, "I do not have a daughter." The next day when I called mom got on the phone and immediately said "I love you." When I answered that I was coming to see her she said "great". I used to want to believe, and maybe it was so, that my mom knew and understood who I was, as she shared her expressions of love for me. That was then, and as her Alzheimer's gets worse, I do not know if she truly understands that I am her daughter.

It had been over a year since my son Logan visited his grandma. He used to accompany me two times a year while mom still lived at home. On one of his last trips mom asked him how many brothers and sisters he had, and as he exited the room she only wanted to know who that handsome "boy" was.  The fact is that Logan is her one and only grandchild, one whom she so adored.

This trip was a little difficult for both of us. For the first 2 days mom was extremely tired which left her agitated and confused. Fortunately, on Day Three mom had a good day and right before we left fell asleep on Logan's shoulder. This was a touching moment that melted all of our hearts.

 After returning the one question my friends wanted to know was if she still knew who I was. "Maybe, for she did say my name two times in three days," I replied. Perhaps mom recognized my voice or the tenderness of my touches. When I asked her who I was, she said "her mother." I felt complimented that she placed me in this special arena, knowing how much she adored her own mother. Could she have meant her daughter, or as other Alzheimer patients do, did she just mix up her words?

She told me she loved me, yet I heard her say this to all the nurses and aides as she threw them kisses. They have displayed a kindness and warmth to her, which I feel is quite genuine. Fortunately mom still runs around most of the day in her Merry Walker inviting everyone she sees to join her on her travels. Ruthie with her smiles and sweet demeanor has been able to capture their hearts .

Whether my mother knows who I am or not this trip seemed to be harder for me. I was left with unanswered questions and thoughts of mom's life as it now exists. She will be ninety years old in August with no other health issues. If she were free from Alzheimer's I would be thrilled. Given what this disease has done to her I wonder if there is any quality left in her life.



MY MOM MY HERO is for all the special people in your lives. Over 100 great reviews.

Available on Amazon & Kindle worldwide.

http://www.amazon.com/Mom-Hero-Alzheimers-A-daughters-bittersweet/dp/0615773982/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1389797650&sr=8-1&keywords=lisa+hirsch