Alzheimer’s caregivers take on a heavy burden. Courtesy of the Alzheimer’s Association, this is Beverly’s caregiver story:
“Ironically, my mother’s Alzheimer’s is teaching me that I do not need to remember every little painful specific, not in the manner I once remembered them. What a relief to draw the honest conclusion that I’m no longer there. I’ve changed, and in many ways because of past experiences.
“My mother’s Alzheimer’s is teaching me that I can look at life in a variety of ways. Didn’t someone once say “variety is the spice of life?” I agree, for there are some spices that are good, and other spices that taste terrible. The uplifting spices of life are mixed with the downtrodden spices. So it is up to me to create a recipe of life that I can not only endure, but enjoy.
“My mother’s Alzheimer’s is teaching me that it is not necessary to return to painful experiences in my life. They now come to me in a different light. I needed every single pain in my past to enable me to grow up, to come to the realization that I made it through without the earth opening up and shoving me in it. I needed grief to know that if I could make it through that, I can make it through anything.
“My mother’s Alzheimer’s is teaching me that sometimes I need distance from me; a movie, a book or writing. We all need space, but I’m now learning that space is needed from Beverly. Then I can return to Beverly, love her, and thank her for letting go of her doom and gloom.
“My mother’s Alzheimer’s is teaching me that if we love, bit by bit we feel pain. My self has been deeply connected with my loving mother for my entire life. It is terribly difficult observing and feeling her slip away as she grows absent from me; indifferent toward me, hostile toward me. Just the other day she looked at me as though she was a prosecuting attorney in the Nuremburg trial. Of course, I was the one being prosecuted. Just the other day my once loving mother said, “Beverly, I can’t stand the sight of you…”
“Above all, my mother’s Alzheimer’s is teaching me to permit the present pain that I, as in my past, will be prompted to endure. There is a silver lining. Amazingly, I had to revert to my past in a different way to understand its significance…
“Without former hurtful experiences, I could never feel so happy and thrilled as I am in the moment when Mother decides to ever so briefly send a smile to me. I love her, unconditionally. My mother’s Alzheimer’s has taught me the authentic meaning of unconditional love.”
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