I’m Losing My Mother

The Steep Downslide of Alzheimer’s

Stefani Vader

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Photo by Jonatas Domingos on Unsplash

I’ve got an awesome mother. Growing up we had our disagreements and didn’t always see eye-to-eye, but she was always there with her arms open to give me the hug I didn’t even know I needed.

She was a teacher for twenty years. Year after year she would help kids learn and grow and she would celebrate each and every one of their accomplishments.

When she retired, she wasn’t quite done yet. Instead of just sitting around, she volunteered with the CASA program giving a voice to the kids who desperately needed someone to speak up for them and put them in the best situation possible.

I loved visiting them as an adult. Each morning I would wake up and wander out into the kitchen. My parents would be sitting at the island, drinking coffee and reading the paper. As soon as I sat down with them, my dad would slide over copies of the daily Sudoku puzzle and the three of us would race to see who could complete it first.

It’s so hard to watch someone mentally decline who spent their life working in the education system and doing whatever she could to help me, my brother, and my sister study and get the best grades possible.

Today is her birthday. Today she turns seventy-seven. Today she couldn’t even remember where they were flying to on her birthday trip.

I live across the country from them so phone calls are all I get right now. It’s a struggle to hold a conversation with her. We no longer call her cell phone because she can never remember where it is. Now we call my dad who then puts the call on speaker.

We talk and when she struggles he’s right by her side to remind her what they are doing, where they are going or how old my kids are. I find myself tearing up every single phone call.

There’s going to come a day where she doesn’t remember me. I know it’s coming and there’s really no way to prepare for that. But what I am dreading is when the communication completely stops.

We’ve been through this with her father and my father’s mother. It was devastating to sit and watch my parents talk to them while they just stare back, unable to communicate. There’s going to come a time when I would give anything to hear her voice once more.

It’s hard hearing her decline and it’s hard being so far away unable to spend more time with them and be there to help my dad with her.

Alzheimer’s is a devastating disease and I wish there was a cure.

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Stefani Vader

Lover of reading and writing. Hater of retail work. Small fish in a big pond, learning as I go.