I think this will be the last blog on Alzheimer’s for a while. It’s not that my mom has passed. She has, however, moved into what they call “the last stage.” She’s now in a full-care facility so they can help her eat, ensure that she gets out of bed now and then, and really keep an eye on her as her faculties go. She has completely forgotten who any of us are (but is it too naive to hope that she has at least a glimmer of recognition when we visit in a few weeks?), and her memories are confused and wrong.
In a recent phone conversation with her, I realized that calling her wasn’t helping either of us. She didn’t know who was calling or that I hadn’t done so in several weeks, nor would she remember five minutes later that I had. At no time did she connect anything I was saying with something she knew. The conversation was twisty, repetitive, and completely absent of anything I’d call “mom.” Instead of feeling better about calling her, I hung up in tears, wishing there was a way to fix this impossible disease. Sadly, I recognized that neither of us profited from our conversation, so why was I doing this anymore?
Tomorrow, the road to sixty ends. It’s here, folks. I did it. And maybe all of this has happened for a reason. Or if not a reason, it has had a symmetry that I’m convinced isn’t coincidental. Now, as I move into my 60th year, my mother is moving on to something else, and so am I. I love you, mom. It’s my birthday tomorrow and I’ll have a drink for you. And when I see you next, I’ll look for that momentary glint that tells me I’m still in your heart, if not in your mind.