Today marks one year from the day that my sweet mom departed from this world. Shortly after sundown on December 14, 2014, and surrounded by her loved ones, mom caught the evening train skyward and traversed the surly bonds of Alzheimer’s.
Mom had suffered with Dementia for the last five years of her life. Initially, mom was diagnosed with Vascular Dementia, later after additional diagnostic testing the diagnosis was Alzheimer’s Dementia. The symptoms overlap which adds to the confusion, but the progression is similar. More than likely the disease had begun its assault much earlier than her diagnosis would suggest, as is often the case. Mom’s dementia was second generation. Her mom also died from AD so she was acutely aware of the symptoms. Fear can breed denial, and I believe mom became adept at masking the symptoms, that is until she couldn’t, and then the red flags began to appear. That is when our second journey with AD commenced.
Shortly after mom died I began a memoir that I hope to someday finish. This story depicts the tale of two journeys trekking the rugged terrain of AD. The terminus is the same, as it is for all of us, but the odyssey of these two souls as they advanced toward that summit is remarkably different. And that difference, in my experience, lies in the ability to reach through the fog and connect with that person wherever they are at that moment, and, allowing them through your patience and calm, to reach through to you.
Dementia is a big umbrella which houses its many types. Alzheimer’s Dementia is the most common, followed by Vascular Dementia, Lewy Bodies Dementia, Mixed Dementia, etc,. They all may progress, and present their symptoms slightly different, but the cognitive function loss caused by physical changes in the brain is the universal manifestation, and that loss reaches across every race, religion, and socio-economic class. The aftermath of a diagnosis of Dementia is much like the raging waters after a dam breaks, covering everything beneath it and affecting everyone in its path.
My intention with this blog is to reach out and provide hope to everyone on that path wherever that might be. As I write today, there is no cure, but there is hope. Hope for a cure, certainly, but equally important is hope in the form of how we rediscover the person behind that impaired mainframe, that soul that still resides and resonates deep within the damaged walls of Dementia. Support is paramount to living successfully with Dementia, and support comes in many forms. I encourage everyone to share your stories, your pictures, your prayers and your hope in supporting all of us who are or have been affected by Dementia!
Happy 1st BD in heaven mom! Your undiminished soul lives on!!!