Effing Alzheimer’s

John and his momMy mother-in-law has an amazing laugh, and, until recently, was pretty good at maintaining superficial conversation, over and over and over, again. She drove me crazy (in the way that Korean mother-in-laws do) long before Alzheimer’s hit. She’s eighty-two, loved ballroom dancing and doesn’t shake her butt anymore when she walks.

A couple of falls, followed by a medical crisis with her boyfriend, “The Colonel,” (who lived with her and took care of her) and she spiraled into needing twenty-four hour care. My husband went into a series of “lasts” . . . the last picture taken in her own home, and possibly the last one with him. We took her house keys out of her purse, she won’t be needing those anymore. We threw away her soy sauce, brown sludge that must have been in her refrigerator since 1999.

We took her to breakfast, and a (final) walk through the park next to her house. We stopped at a water fountain and my husband, who was trying so hard to squeeze every moment of now out of the day, held his mom’s arm. He gave her a penny and told her to make a wish. She tossed it and we watched that penny make its arc in slow motion. She didn’t have any wishes left. Fucking Alzheimer’s.

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6 thoughts on “Effing Alzheimer’s

  1. I lost my mom to Alzheimer’s — May 8 (yesterday), was the sixth anniversary of her passing. I know too well the series of “lasts,” because with effing Alzheimer’s, you lose them in little pieces. And after they’re gone, you’ll long for one, just one more of those moments that always drove you crazy. I would give a gazbiillion dollars to hear my mom tell me, once again, that Frazier’s dog really wasn’t named “Eddie” in real life, and that he didn’t do those tricks because Frazier told him to. There was a guy off camera giving Eddie direction. Who knew? Who knew I would miss hearing that story for the nine millionth time.

  2. Please take this in the spirit it is intended when I say about Alzheimer’s: “Not that!” Powerful post, Dee. Sending healing prayers of peace for you and John and his mom.

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