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It's My Turn To Take Care Of You

My mother had Alzheimer's. She was diagnosed in her early 60s. Over the years she struggled with remembering and emotions.

The last year of her life was very exhausting for her. It came to the point where she needed more care than could be given at home, so she went into a nursing home. Her struggles were many and her emotions were everywhere. It was so sad to watch a once vibrant, energetic, fun, loving mother, grandmother, and wife withdraw from life and her family.

My heart aches everyday for her absence. But I hold on to the many precious memories that are forever stamped in my heart.

Even in the last year she left me with many precious memories, as I helped care for her, memories that I will always hold dear to my heart. She once apologized to me for me taking are of her, I asked her, "Mom do you regret taking care of me all the years that you did?"

She looked at me and said, "No, I didn't."

I replied, "It's my turn to take care of you because I love you and I have no regrets."

My mother passed away on Oct. 13, 2012.

Deborah Downey Bartram
Ashland, KY

Earning His Angel Wings

My papa lost his battle with Alzheimer's on Dec. 18,2013, he suffered for five years but he is no longer suffering anymore and gained his angel wings. I miss him dearly but what keeps me going is he's in a better place where he's at peace and not suffering with this awful disease. He fought his whole life especially when sick during and all the way to the end, he was my hero, best friend, and father figure. Now he's my beautiful guardian angel. Fly high pap until we meet again. Sunrise May 14, 1942 Sunset Dec. 18, 2013.

Michelle Concannon
Richfield, OH

The Changes We See

My mom has this disease. It is so sad to see her go through so many changes daily, forgetfulness, anxiety, fear, loneliness, being tired. She does have three dogs that keep her company and my brother and I go see her almost every day. She loves going to church every Sunday. She loves every person she meets and loves to try to connect with them. She always has a story for everything. If you are feeling sad she will try to lift you up. If you loved one can or is able to go in a car with someone please take them out of the house sometimes even if it is just around the block. My mom is almost 87 and we do not know how much longer we will have her so we value every second that we do have her. Not knowing when her work on earth is over, we have God's promise that we will see her again someday.

Michele Burtrum
Joplin, MO

Taking Care Of Loved Ones

My grandmother has dementia and is a shell of her former self. Bobbie Jean was the matriarch of our family. She was a school teacher for 38 years. It helps tremendously that we have great memories of her before the onset. Sadly, people don't realize it's a disease or care about the effects. Even worse, it's pathetic how family members so easily and readily take spectator seats. Big shout out to all who are active participants and caretakers in the lives of Alzheimer's patients!

Bobbia Gay
Arlington, TX

Until We Meet Again

My mom passed away in August but I can honestly say she knew who I was until almost the very end. She often called me by name and I know she knew I was with her when she passed. I miss her so much but I know she wouldn't want to be here in the shape she was in. When she first started with the disease, she would get so aggravated because she couldn't find the words she was searching for in her memory. She is better now and I'll see her again one day.

Missy Corley
Cumberland, MD

Alzheimer's Caregivers

I am a caregiver working with Alzheimer's patients. It is such a a humbling experience for me. i have taken care of and lost so many. I have learned something (a lesson) from each of the, a lesson that helps to make me a better person.

Christine Hyacinth Hinds
Lawrenceville, GA

My Precious Grandad

My precious grandad was the light of my life. He had Alzheimer's and when he got bad he never knew me again. THis was heartbreaking since I lost my dad at 3-years-old and my grandad was the only father I ever knew. He would talk to me but call me names I'd never heard of before. He was such a a loving kind man. He went back to his childhood, we would give him candy etc. and he would hide it so that "girl" (me) couldn't steal it from him. How I miss this precious man but he is now back in his right mind with the Lord.

Shirley Bice
Ragland, AL

Sweet Rose

A few years ago my husband was diagnosed with Dementia. As he entered the late stages, it became difficult for me to keep up with him while he was working outside. I felt that we needed a dog to watch over him. During my daily prayer, I asked for a dog to be sent to him, one that would love him enough to become his guardian when I was not able to be there.

In about 2 weeks this stray dog entered our yard. I managed to contact her owner. He came and took her home but she was back the next morning. This became an everyday occurrence. But while here, she never left my husband’s side, staying close to him but never in his way. One day I found my husband on the road, the dog walking beside him. I watched in amazement as she led him safely home.

The owner noticed how she was getting attached to my husband. He said some dogs’ sense disabilities like this and he asked me to keep her so she could continue watching over him. He had named her Rose. I did keep her and was so proud to have her. I thought back to our granddaughter Haley Rose, who lost her battle with cancer at the age of 17.

I believe my prayer was answered at the time this man, about 2 years prior, got this puppy at the shelter and named her Rose. This sweet loving dog had been sent here to watch over my husband and she did her job well. Even though my husband is now in a healthcare center, our precious Rose is still here; now watching over me. She was sent on a mission to rescue me and I will be forever grateful. She has captured the hearts of all our family members and she will be well cared for and loved the rest of her life.

Shirley D
Lebanon, MO

Treasured Memory

My grandmother lived a long distance from us, so we only visited about once a year. She had other family in the area and was happy there. As she aged, she developed dementia and was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease.

Grandma was a wonderful person. She was very quiet, and always ready with a gentle smile, but our family has a history of orneriness and I sometimes wondered what lurked behind that mild-mannered aplomb. As the Alzheimer's progressed, she became prone to some common symptoms of the disease; asking the same questions again and again, forgetting to do things, or even how to do them. My aunt, a former elementary school teacher with boundless patience, took excellent care of her. When we visited, we knew to calmly answer the questions and roll with the routine. Grandma liked to hear our stories, and I think she liked our company.

One of my favorite memories of a visit occurred during the later stages. We were all sitting around the old kitchen table, chatting, and my aunt was preparing a quick lunch. She pulled out Grandma's pill case, plonked it down on the table, and in her best teacher's voice said, "Now don't touch these!" Then she turned around to work on the sandwiches.

Everyone else kept visiting, chatting merrily. But Grandma looked directly into my eyes, and ever so gently, she reached out with one shaking finger and poked that pill case. Then she looked back at me, and smiled wickedly.

She retreated into patient innocence almost immediately, listening to the conversation washing around us. But for that moment, I knew she was still with us, one of us, and it warmed my heart. Today, she is gone; her house has been sold, and the sunny backyard and familiar kitchen table are no longer in the family. But that moment still has power over me. When I want to remember my Grandma, it's not the early days of my childhood I go right back to, though they're not far behind. It's the old kitchen table, the pill case, and that smile.

N.B.
Seattle, WA
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