Friday, August 28, 2015

SHOUD I CELEBRATE?... Yes


SHOULD I CELEBRATE ? ...Yes

On August 24th my mom turned ninety one years old. This picture was from last year when we celebrated her 90th birthday. It was in some ways "exciting" to share this monumental birthday with her given that she has Alzheimer's for over eleven years. To be totally honest to myself there are moments when I question; is this the life I would want to be living?

I live in Manhattan where there are some elders in their early 90's who are still so full of life. Maybe they have slowed down, yet they are still able to come to the gym each morning, enjoy museums, the theatre, take a stroll through Central Park and dine out with friends or family. My husband also has quite a few aunts and uncles who are also in their 90's still driving around, traveling and living their lives "fully".  They are amongst the few that are truly blessed to be in such great health especially given their age.

For mom and many others who suffer from dementia there is not much quality left in their lives.  Just knowing how my mom now is I cannot help to notice and compare.

Obviously, if I were one of the fortunate ones I would be thrilled to be celebrating my 90th Birthday; and if I were like my mother, than for me, I'd rather not . I do know that mom is definitely one of the luckier ones; for she is still mobile, can spell and has as  a good sense of humor. She has not faded away as quickly as some others who have succumb to this horrific disease.

On a brighter note since Alzheimer's leaves mom without a memory she cannot recall how old she is. Thinking you are in your sixties is not such a bad thing when you are already past ninety.

So mom, although I am not with you this year to sing Happy Birthday or feed you you're birthday cake, I do want to say I love you and wish you a very Happy Birthday. Through my brother and your wonderful nurses I was at least able to deliver all of my wishes to you, which did leave me feeling complete.





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

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

Monday, August 24, 2015

IN HONOR OF MOM'S 91st BIRTHDAY




IN HONOR OF MY MOM'S 91st BIRTHDAY


I would like to offer you to join us on our journey from the beginning, as our relationship transformed into an unconditional love.

MY MOM MY HERO for.99 CENTS Aug 24th- Aug 28th in the KINDLE Store.


"When Lisa Hirsch found out her mother had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s
disease, her love, appreciation, and caring for her mother was transformed.

Ultimately this is an uplifting and inspirational book for anyone who’s going through the difficult and often lonely ordeal of caring for a loved one who suffers from this devastating illness".

Available EBook, Paperback, Audio
http://amzn.to/1oNbeCX

I hope that you come and join us on our journey.

Lisa

Thursday, August 6, 2015

MOM WHO'S HAND ARE YOU HOLDING?



MOM WHO'S HAND ARE YOU HOLDING?


"Mom the hand you are holding is that of your one and only grandchild." I can remember all the time you spent with Logan watching his favorite tv shows and movies. It's funny how I can still hear the two of you laughing while. Sometimes I'd wonder how you could sit and see the same movie over and over again. Yet that is what a loving grandmother would do for her one and only grandchild.

You no longer know who my son is nor do you understand that in six weeks he will be getting married. You met his beautiful bride-to-be in January as she came to Florida especially to meet you. "I know mom that you would be so proud of Logan, the man he has become, and would feel affection for the woman he has chosen to spend his life with."

When I think of all that you have been robbed of, I must confess it brings sadness to my heart. Alzheimer's is one of the most devastating diseases. It has the power to invade one's life and wash away a world full of memories.

Some people realize that every day is a gift and for me I hold onto each and every moment that I still can remember. I may never get Alzheimer's, yet one might say that I have a higher possibility since it runs in my family. First, your younger brother, and then you.

I know that going to sleep is final and realize that I would never be able to hear your voice, see your smile or hold your hand again. I question what is better. Being alive, locked away in your own world without any knowledge of your family or existence? Yes you seem to "be happy" or should I say "content". I wonder what thoughts, if any, may cross your mind only to disappear as quickly as they come.

I believe in my heart that you would not want to be alive if you truly understood about the world you now live in. For me if my world becomes like yours, I would not want to keep on living. So with much love how could I not wish for you, what I too would wish for myself. 

When Logan and Julia get married at the end of September, I will be thinking of you knowing how full of happiness and pride you would have been. I promise to have you with us, if only in spirit, to celebrate this glorious occasion. I love you mom today and forever.



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

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, July 24, 2015

MOMMY CAN YOU HEAR ME?


MOMMY CAN YOU HEAR ME?



I wonder how a "grown" woman with a "grown" child can still have feelings of wanting her mother to just hold and protect her. I long to hear her say "Lisa don't worry everything will be okay. You'll see that it will all work out." Is this a feeling that perhaps will never go away, no matter how old I am?

This is an emotion that I have recently been feeling, and as each day goes by, I know that this is not possible. Yes, I am one of the "lucky "ones that my mom is still here; even if she is half alive.

How I wish that when I tell her how much I love her she could forever remember it. Life is not always how we might like it, and I guess it's all about how we live it.

These feelings that I am sharing I know will pass yet, for the last few weeks, as I search my heart for answers, I cannot help wanting to be able to share them with her.

Just the other day I had my husband take me to the home that I was raised in. I lived there until I graduated college and got married. I had not driven by it in at least twenty five years. I snapped some pictures and left with sweet memories, though I realized that I no longer had a parent that I could share this with. My dad passed away over 21 years ago and my mom's Alzheimer's has taken away her memory.

Mom now travels back in time searching for her own parents. As I have suspected she has returned to a place that she, too, felt secure and loved. I'm not sure why at this time I had the burning desire to visit the setting that I grew up in.

Could it be that I am now feeling somewhat vulnerable? My son and only child in 2 months will  be getting married and someday having a family of his own. Can it be the fact that life does not stand still? Am I looking at my own mortality? My husband's cousin suddenly passed away, so can this also be realizing how quickly one's life could just end?

I phoned the nursing home and started to cry with one of mom's nurses. She asked me to stop because she said that she will also start to cry. I asked a favor of her which she was happy to do. "Diane could you please go find my mother and give her a big hug for me."

Diane called me right back telling me that she found my mom and gave her a strong hug telling mom that it was from me. Mom smiled and said to the nurse, "I love you too." For the moment my tears subsided, envisioning mom doing this put a smile back on my face.

 Mom's life is a part of each day of my life whether I am with her or far away. She is my mother and although life is not always as we would like it to be, our roles are now reversed. The little girl that lies deep within me is now all grown up, and although I may at times want to return there I know that it can only be in my dreams.




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

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


















Wednesday, July 8, 2015

BLOWING OUT MY BIRTHDAY CANDLES

BLOWING OUT MY BIRTHDAY CANDLES

I will be celebrating my birthday July 12th and I, who never made a big deal about this day, now feel differently. It is because of my mom. I find it sad that the woman who gave birth to me has no memory of this day, or in fact, any other day. My mom for the last ten 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?

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 at moments, feel 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 thing, 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 that mom 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.


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

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

 

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

HONORING OUR MOTHER'S



HONORING OUR MOTHER'S


I was asked several months ago to write a letter to my mom which was then chosen and published in a book called "Letter to My Mom". After reading other letters I realized that I was not the only one, who at one time, had a fractured relationship with their mother. A relationship that needed healing.

Today my relationship is not only healed it is one that I cherish. Mom has taught me so much about life, even when I was unable to recognize it. She is a lady who has given me strength, integrity and what I refer to as "tough" love. Mom was always there for me and, since she has Alzheimer's, my relationship with her for the last ten years has changed drastically. It is now one filled with unconditional love.

As being a mom myself I certainly remember when I was pregnant and the day that my son entered the world. I will never forget the birth of my one and only child. I melted as I held him in my arms for the very first time. I was also nervous since this was something so brand new to me.

Being a mother is one of the best gifts in the world yet, at times, it can also be challenging. I believe that no matter what your relationship is, or was, with your mother, that when you look deep into your heart you can feel the love.

I have a friend who just lost her mother. After her mom passed away I listened to what she had to say, which all came down to that she loved her, no matter what transpired between the two of them.

I thought it would be nice for all of us to celebrate our mothers. This blog post is a little different than what I usually write. I know it is not Mother's Day, yet I wanted to take the time for all of us who has a mother to honor: your own special lady.



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

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




 

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

THE GIFT OF LIFE



THE GIFT OF LIFE


Sometimes I can forget what a gift it is to wake up each morning. Maybe I have just taken it for granted without giving it much thought. When it comes to mom, who has Alzheimer's for over10 years, in regard to her life, my mind has traveled to many different places. There have been days when I wish that she would just go to sleep other moments when I feel differently.

I cannot help but wonder what it is like to lose oneself and still live? I wish that mom could explain this to me. Several years ago when I presented her with a question, " Mom what is it like not to remember anything?",her response was lovely, "although I cannot remember I know that whatever happened the day before had to be nice."

Was it possible that the mom who raised me had turned into a Buddha? Truthfully, growing up I do not remember her being so enlightened. Is it at all possible that Alzheimer's has brought out the best in her?

I wish that I could go back to my childhood and see if it was her or perhaps me acting out. Growing up is not always easy. I know that I had my share of insecurities. What could have caused me to react to her as I once did? Understanding any of this no longer matters, just being given a second chance to love her unconditionally is, undeniably, another gift.

Now all I care about is that my mom is well taken care of and "enjoying" whatever is left of her life.
There is no way for me to know what she truly thinks or feels. I can only hope that when I see her smiling, singing and interacting with others that she is happy.

I have been fortunate to have recent videos of mom(please see my FB page) so that whenever I feel uncertain on how she is doing, I watch them, and for those moments not only am I connected to her, I also know that she is doing great.

The gift for me is to hold onto being grateful as I watch mom "enjoy her life." I must try not to judge how her current life is, for life itself is a gift. As long as I know that she is not suffering and appears to be happy, I just want to celebrate her life, for one day it will all disappear.




MY MOM MY HERO book is dedicated to my mother and yours. 

Available on Amazon & Kindle & Audio.

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 28, 2015

GIVEN A SECOND CHANCE


GIVEN A SECOND CHANCE

This is mom (20 years ago) a few months after my dad had passed away. Trying to put some joy back in her life, my husband and I flew her to Disney World. We had a wonderful time and for mom, just spending time with her one and only grandchild, always made her smile.

My parents were married for fifty years and dad's death was not an easy one. For nine months Mom traveled quite a distance every day to be with him. She was so strong and never complained. This was a time in my life that I really admired and respected her.

I flew down once a month to see my dad and even more to spend some time with her. It was a time,  as sad as it was, that I was happy to be with mom. We were like "teenage girls" and once again we bonded.

As I think back I can remember other times that I felt close to her, yet also other moments that we definitely went to battle. As I reminisce, I realize that this was the only other time, since I moved out of my childhood home, that I phoned mom every day. Not until she became ill with Alzheimer's did my daily phone calls start again. I terribly miss these calls no matter how silly some of our conversations would be. Just the sound of her voice brought music to my heart.

All that is left for me is to call the nursing home daily and hear the nurses tell me how mom is doing. I always say how much I miss her and request that they tell her that I love her. They reassure me that they will. I don't know why, but this makes me feel better. It makes me feel that I am connected to her.

Now that mom is further along with her disease she hardly has any memory left. For her, time stands still and yet for me it keeps moving on. Mom cannot remember the good nor the painful times. Not remembering the hurtful ones in her life, is the only blessing that goes along with having Alzheimer's.

I wish that we could be with one another as we once were. This is not reality so I like to think of her smiling face and the joy that we once were able to share. I think of the good times and all the love I have in my heart for her; leaving the tough times behind.

I might have wasted some years yet I am so thankful that I was able to get in touch with how very much I love her. I was given a second chance; one that I will never forget. This I do not take for granted.


MY MOM MY HERO book is dedicated to my mother and yours. 

Available on Amazon & Kindle & Audio.

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 14, 2015

IS THIS LIFE?



IS THIS LIFE?

Alzheimer's is a fascinating disease when compared to other illnesses it storms in, attacks all of one's brain cells, eventually leaving nothing in its path. It deeply saddens me as I question how this is possible?

Even more frustrating is that my mom cannot describe to me what is happening to her. I can only guess what she may be thinking or feeling. Why, with most of her memory gone, does she still search all over for her parents? What makes her reverse back to her childhood even as she becomes more childlike?

On Mother's Day which just passed, I shared with mom by phone (I'm a long distance caregiver) how much I loved her and how special she was to me. She repeated the word "special" and then rambled on mixing up words so I had no clue what she was trying to say. I guess she understood what I said for one flashing moment as she quickly moved back into her own world. A world in which she now lives all alone.

I often feel like a pendulum myself swinging back and forth with my mixed up feelings concerning her. There are times when she can make me smile and other times when I wonder what her life is all about. My heartache is in thinking of her nonexistence.

I have been complemented on what a wonderful daughter I am and wish that I could truly own this. It took my mom getting dementia (ten years ago) for me to love her the way I do. Before she became ill, of course I loved her, for she was my mother, yet my love and feelings for her were so different.

I regret that I was not aware of how much love for her existed inside me. I do know now how fortunate I was to be given a second chance to love her unconditionally. For this I am surely grateful.

Since mom does not know the difference of the world she now lives in, I as her daughter, am the one who is left to feel the pain. How I wish I could rescue her from this world of no return. The destructive world of Alzheimer's.


MY MOM MY HERO book is dedicated to my mother and yours. 

Available on Amazon & Kindle & Audio.

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
 

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

MOTHERS DAY WISHES


MOTHERS DAY WISHES




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."

"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. 

Available on Amazon & Kindle & Audio.

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 16, 2015

THE SOUND OF MUSIC


THE SOUND OF MUSIC

A few weeks ago was the celebration of two holidays-Passover and Easter. My mom has no idea which holiday she once celebrated. She also gets confused with who I am. I can be her wife, her mother, her friend or her daughter. Fortunately I am able to smile and not allow this to upset me for in my heart, I know that whoever I am to her they are all very special people.

The one thing I do struggle with is realizing all the beautiful things in life that mom can no longer enjoy. It's the simple things like feeling the warmth of the sun or the beautiful bright blue skies after a few cloudy rainy days.

I must confess that my heart is sad when I think of all the things mom use to love to do and can no longer appreciate. She used to treasure reading books and going to the theatre. She loved to go to the movies, or visit a museum. She loved to travel or just take a walk on the beach. In her universe these pleasures no longer exist.

Yes, mom does not know the difference; yet I do. She is "locked" within the walls of the nursing home in a world that she is now entrapped in. I question and wonder if this is what being alive is about. Alzheimer's quickly crept into her soul and removed almost all of her life experiences. She is no longer aware of what she is missing; but I am.

Luckily there is an enjoyment left and that is the "sound of music".  I have
personally witnessed this with my mom and others who have dementia. Music brings a wakening and joy to their hearts. You can see this in their faces as they suddenly become more alive.

After returning home today from spending a glorious sun filled day outside, I once again had visions of my mom roaming the halls of the facility she now lives in. My mind traveled back to the thought of her not knowing anything that was going on in the world she once knew. I can only hope that somehow, someway, she is at least still hearing and enjoying the "sounds of music".


 MY MOM MY HERO - A mother & daughters new found love.http://www.amazon.com/Mom-Hero-Alzheimers--daughters-bittersweet/dp/0615773982/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1400860930&sr=1-1&keywords=lisa+hirsch
 

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

A LETTER TO MY MOM



MY LETTER TO MY MOM
(as seen in newly released book " A Letter to My Mom" by Lisa Erspamer)

My Mom My Hero

Mom, as I sit down to write my letter I wonder how I can possibly start to share all my feelings with you. So much has changed since you developed Alzheimer’s 10 years ago. As I gather my thoughts I realize that you will not be able to comprehend most of what I say.

As a teenager I loved you, yet somehow I wanted one of my friend’s mothers to be my mother. Then, after you became ill I fell so deeply in love with you. An unconditional love was born and since then you have inspired me each and every day.

I’m not really sure why my sentiments changed so drastically, I just know that I was given a second chance to feel a deep love and appreciation for you. As I reflect back through these years you have inspired me and have become my hero.

Your humor, your smiles, your sweetness have melted my heart.  In several months you will be turning 90 years “young”. You can still be feisty and, as you run around in your Merry Walker, I wonder what you could possibly be thinking.  Of course I could ask you, yet as silly as that might seem you would not be able to remember anything.

Before entering the nursing home this past August I spoke to you every single day. We ended each call throwing each other our kisses. I have continued to phone the nursing home every day only wanting to hear how you are doing. On occasion I get lucky and am able to hear your sweet voice.

 Most of the time you say hello, and after a minute you just drop the phone. You do not even realize that I called or recognize the sound of my voice. Recently I was able to catch you when you were having a minute of clarity. You sounded free of Alzheimer’s as you shared that you missed me. These words immediately melted my heart. After hanging up the phone I knew that this was a magical moment, an occasion for me to treasure.

Mom, I am also a mother. My son, your only grandchild is 26 years old. You adored him and yet today you no longer remember who he is. There have been times that you think you have seven children and days when you think you have none. As a mother I cannot envision that one day I might also not know that I have a child. 

I find it hard to believe that a disease like this can wipe away your whole world as if it never existed, leaving your mind a blank canvas. Daddy passed away almost twenty years ago and I do not believe that you have much recollection of him. I’m actually happy that he is no longer alive. I cannot imagine the pain he would have endured watching you fade away.

Today, in your world, I would have to help you brush your teeth, comb your hair, eat your food and get dressed. As a child you once did all of this for me, as well as comforting me when I was sick, or perhaps feeling a little blue.  Yet with everything that has changed, at least I know that we still have each other to share our love.

What has changed is that our roles have reversed. Now it is my turn to care for you as you once cared for me. The truth is mom that no matter whatever you can or cannot do, I am still your daughter and you will always be my mother.

Life is strange; for out of you becoming ill I have discovered a whole new world. I was given a second chance to love you unconditionally.  You have opened my heart to such a deep compassionate love. Mom as I end my letter, I just want to share with you, how very much I adore you. I feel honored and I am so proud that you are my mother.

 Your one and only daughter,

Lisa



 MY MOM MY HERO Book - A mother & daughters new found love.http://www.amazon.com/Mom-Hero-Alzheimers--daughters-bittersweet/dp/0615773982/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1400860930&sr=1-1&keywords=lisa+hirsch