I remember the first milestone in Mom’s journey with Alzheimer's disease was her repeating the same questions such as, “How is everybody?” No mention of the names of my wife and children. In response, I would say the names of my wife and children and then update each of their lives, to help Mom reconnect any memories of them that might remain.
The second milestone I remember was Mom’s inability to speak clearly and coherently. If words were understandable they would be jumbled in a mixed-up sentence that I could not untangle.
When Alzheimer’s disease took from Mom the ability to communicate coherently, I remembered the teaching of my parents: We are body and soul. I was convinced there was a way that I still could communicate with Mom.
My next conversation with Mom began with her speaking “word salad.” But when I said, “Mom, isn’t it wonderful that God loves us?” In a strong, coherent voice Mom responded, “Yes, it is.” My sisters experienced the same phenomenon in their visits with Mom. We continued to communicate in that way with Mom, and she with us.
One week before her death our extended family gathered around Mom’s bedside. She now was awake only for brief moments. Her ability to speak was gone. We took turns saying our goodbyes to Mom. We sang a hymn familiar to Mom: “It Is Well With My Soul.” We prayed for Mom. Her eyes opened wide to survey everyone who was in the room and then her eyes closed again. It was her way of communicating to us that it was well with her soul.
I support the work of the Alzheimer’s Association because I remember Mom.
Thank you for helping us advance Alzheimer's support, care and research!
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