The Art of Acceptance…

As most of you know, my mother, Carmen, is in a nursing home.  She has been there several years.  The last year has been difficult for me as she continues to decline with her Alzheimer’s. 

We spent time over the holidays when I went out to take her the gifts I had bought.  She doesn’t need much – so, I always buy her clothes.  She knew it was me…and called me by name.  Well, she wasn’t too excited about the clothes – but her eyes lit up when I told her I had some perfume for her. 

We talked for a while – and somewhere along the line I ceased to be her daughter and became her sister.  In her mind, I was one of her sisters – and as I was leaving she told me to tell the rest of her sisters hello for her.

Before I left the nursing home I spoke with the chaplain.  She told me that mother is always happy, always smiling, and just seems to love everyone.  She never complains – unless something really hurts (like her hand a few weeks ago – and they made a splint for her to use when she sleeps) and is always thrilled to speak to those who stop to say hi to her.  She said that for someone who is partially blind and can’t hear very well – she has a very happy life.  She told me that the nurses wish every patient was as easy to care for and care about as my mom.  She is very happy in her world.

When I told my sister, Mary Ellen, about it – she said “Well, look at it this way – you were able to make her happy today – once as her daughter and the other as her sister…She got a two-fer for the price of one…”

Maybe I should think more like my sister – and accept the fact that mother will not be the person that she was even five years ago…and accept that even though she does not totally know me sometimes – I still bring her pleasure by being there with her and sharing part of her day.

The art of acceptance is very hard – but, this year I will be more accepting of my mom’s disease.



7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. folkcat
    Jan 03, 2012 @ 01:21:59

    Love, Sara. All you need, all I have to give.

  2. Jennifer
    Jan 03, 2012 @ 01:25:43

    Sara, that is the sad part of this disease and yes, you’re right – it’s hard to accept. My husband came home from visiting his mother one day upset because she didn’t know him – he said to her “Mum, I’m Kevin” and she said “I had a little boy named Kevin once”. I suppose the leap from her little boy of long ago and the grown man he became was something she just didn’t realise.

  3. Julie
    Jan 03, 2012 @ 07:39:31

    It’s so hard, isn’t it Sara? My very good friend’s mother has Alzheimer’s. She and her husband are like a second set of parents to me and it has been very hard to watch her decline over the last couple of years, but I do always try to remind my friend, and myself, that she is happy in the moment even if she doesn’t remember it. Your sister is so right! Sending you lots of love. xoxo

  4. gemma
    Jan 03, 2012 @ 09:10:06

    your sister has a wonderful attitude – love the idea that you can make mom happy more than once with only one visit. My father in law is much like your mom. We go to visit and sometimes he knows us and sometimes not, either way he’s happy for company no matter who we are. Content in all things as St Paul says. would that we could all be.

  5. Dorothy
    Jan 03, 2012 @ 09:23:38

    Sara – Hang in there and your sister is right – you make your mom happy – and be so thankful she is happy, that is a wonderful attitude. I will keep you in my prayers 🙂

  6. quiltmom anna
    Jan 03, 2012 @ 22:12:48

    Sara- Alzheimer’s is such a difficult disease- my mother in law has lived in a care facility since 2007. Most of the time she has very limited communication skills and does not seem to know her children. She knows that they are important to her – We miss the person that she was – her warmth, her love and her talents. It is of some comfort that she is also well liked by the people that look after her with so much care and kindness. Your visits bring your mother pleasure and that perhaps might be some comfort for you . There is no simple way to travel this road with your parent- one step at time with love is all that you can do.
    Warmest regards,

  7. Pat
    Jan 03, 2012 @ 23:42:02

    Everyone has already said what I would have said to you. Know that my thoughts are with you and I feel badly that you are going through this, but you are a very good daughter and your mother is happy to see you….even if she sometimes isn’t totally recognizing who you are. Keep up the kind visits to her and know that it means a lot to her!

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