My WordPress Therapy – Session One

Yesterday I was reduced to gut wrenching sobs and mindless pacing in the back corner of our local Office Depot.  I was planning to make a quick trip to pick up colored laser printer paper while both boys were at school.  Then my phone rang and I saw it was my mom who rarely calls because she worries that she will call at the wrong time.  I hesitated, my finger over the answer button, but in the end I answered the call.  If I would have told her I was not at home I am sure she would not have asked me to talk to him.  I am sure of it.  She asked if I had a minute to which I replied that I did.  She explained the situation and handed the phone over to dad.

My dad was in a panic, worried and scared.  He was buying a house and was afraid that the nice people who were at his house were trying to rip him off.  He did not recognize my mom, his wife of almost forty-six years.  In his mind she was the seller of the house, the house I grew up in where he still lives with my mom.  In his mind she was a man (just to add insult to injury here, my mom had a mastectomy and went through chemo, loosing her hair, in the spring of this year.  This may add to his confusion, or not.  We don’t know.)  He wanted to talk to a lawyer but settled for me since I am named executor on their will and he still remembers who I am.  And he still trusts me.

I am not sure I deserve his trust but when we tell the truth it quite often makes it so much worse...

So I tried my best to hold back the pain and tears and I talked in a reassuring but hopefully not condescending voice.  And I lied.  Over and over I lied.  And it was awful.  I told him I was actively involved in their finances and that I would make sure everything would be alright.  I told him I would look over the papers to make sure everything was in order.  He kindly offered to pay for my phone calls if I needed to call any lawyers.  He did not want to hear that the house he thought he was buying was the same one he had bought over forty years ago.  He did not want to talk about mom, but he did want to know where she was.  He thanked me for talking to him and told me he loved me.  I told him that I loved him too.  I told him over and over throughout the conversation that he was with people who loved him and that he was safe.  At least that was not a lie.  I spoke to my mom for a few minutes and then hung up and completely lost it.

I don’t know what to do about all this but it helps to write about it and put it out there.  My life is big and great and more than Alzheimer’s and the sense of hopelessness it brings me.  But it is a part of my life.  So I will dedicate a category to it, My WordPress Therapy Couch, and title them My WordPress Therapy with session numbers.  Humor and grief, if just the right mix, sometimes go well together   If you are looking for a fun story about my boys and you see this title, well, I suggest you check back another day.  There will be more hilarity and crazy to share with you, how could there not be with two little boys, two dogs and a stuffed animal named Kissy Shrimp?

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About shoes

I am a blogger, a former microbiologist, a stay at home mom to a herd of two boys, and a grilled cheese sandwich and beer connoisseur.
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28 Responses to My WordPress Therapy – Session One

  1. Jennifer says:

    One of the things I find hardest about adulthood is watching your parents age, and starting to see their frailty. While I haven’t experienced what you are currently, I can understand that sadness and panic that goes with seeing them in this new way. Thanks for sharing this.

    • shoes says:

      I agree, watching parents age is tough. I remember when my dad turned 60 and I silently mourned his old age (and that was 17 years ago!). It is very hard. This was a post I almost didn’t press the publish button on as it is so personal and raw. But the point of me writing this blog is to write about my life, the good and the bad. Thanks for stopping by and commenting Jennifer.

  2. Jodi Stone says:

    Oh my dear, how hard that must have been for you and perfecftly understandable to lose it after the conversation. I’m sure you know how appropriate it was to lie to your dad, in a situation such as that you really have no options and if your dad knew what was going on, he would understand. So cut yourself a break on that, ok? :-)

    Dealing with aging parents is difficult at best, we start out depending on them and they end up depending on us. My mom lives with us in an in-law apartment in the lower level of a raised ranch. She celebrated her 70th birthday last Sunday and while she still has all her faculties (why do we call them that?) her body is failling her. In part for her own (and I say that because the food choices she makes are wrong) inability to control her diabetes. She is to the point now where she struggles to walk for any length of time or stand on her feet; due to Stenosis of the spine which is a result of the diabetes.

    I have taken to doing her grocery shopping for her which puts more work on me and I have to tell you (please don’t think I’m an awful human being) but I resent it. More because I think she could do it herself if she would only be responsible in food choices. Since she lives with me, the bulk of her care falls on me.

    Phew, sorry to ramble on so but you are right it is wordpress therapy.

    I will be thinking of you and your family and will add to the prayer list (if you believe in this it will help) if you don’t then just take comfort in the fact some random stranger is thinking of you.

    • shoes says:

      The caring for aging parents is such an emotional and difficult experience. I am daily amazed at the strength and energy my mom has to have living with and caring for dad. I start to feel guilt for the peace that comes over my house when the sun goes down and my two little boys are quiet and sleeping in their beds because I know what is happening at my parents house. It is not healthy for me to dwell on it; I can only do so much but that is easier to say than do.
      I think it is quite natural to have feelings of resentment. It is tough enough to have the extra responsibility of your mom’s care but when she does not care for her own health it just makes it that much harder. At the risk of not knowing what I am talking about here, I would like to say that I imagine your mom appreciates your help and having a place in your home and life.
      Thank you for adding us to your prayer list. No, I do not believe it such things but I do take that comfort that you are thinking of us. And while you may be a random person, I don’t think of you as a stranger, but a fellow blogger in my little WordPress world.
      Thanks for joining me in my WordPress therapy. It helps to write about the bad stuff as well as the good stuff.

  3. oh Shoes i so feel for you. I had a grandpa who had Alzheimer as well as I used to work in an Alzheimer’s unit.

    I got good at the lying to reduce the agitation.It got to the point with my grandpa where I was the only one he seemed to remember as well.

    Stay strong but allow yourself these moments to vent and cry. You’re a very good daughter.

    • shoes says:

      Alzheimer’s is just so evil. You never know from one moment to the next who you are to the person who has it and how to act. I will be strong and help my mom be strong as well but I may have to vent from time to time on my blog.

      • And there is absolutley nothing wrong with that!Vent away my dear we’re all here to hold your hand and walk with you.

        On a slightly brighter note…If you can talk to someone with this disease when they’re not agitated but still in another “time” they can recall some wonderful memories that you may get a chance to be a part of.

        I remember one of my patients Kenny used to tell me about what the local park here in Spokane used to be like back in the 50’s complete with animals and everything. We had a lovely hour long discussion about it. I know it’s not much but it’s something.

        • shoes says:

          Thank you! I have noticed that he likes to talk about the “good ole’ days” when he lived in SD and grew up on the farm. The stories are interesting and he enjoys remembering and telling people about them.

  4. To me that was the best way I could show my patients and even my grandpa my respect and love. They were happy and content and that’s all that matters

  5. TJ Willard says:

    I remember my Mom telling me stories about my Great-Grandmother when she was going through the stages of this horrible disease … there were times when she would walk down the hall of her nursing home thinking she was walking up a laneway back in the 40’s. It takes A LOT of strength to be with someone that you have held so high for so long, and watch them disappear before your eyes. My heart goes out to you … and your Mom. It just makes those moments when he IS there all that more important :)

    T.
    http://www.mommysmomments.wordpress.com

    • shoes says:

      T, is is pretty much all around awful. Today my dad renamed my mom because he does not believe her to be his wife and gets confused when she and “his wife” have the same name. I don’t know how my mom does it everyday and I feel rather helpless to help much. Really what is there to do but try to make everyone as happy and loved as possible? I have taken to sending my mom cards and emailing her pictures of my boys with funny daily stories. You are right though, when my dad is “there” I hang on every word.
      Thank you for stopping by and commenting.

  6. hippyh says:

    You have my complete sympathy. My great-grandmother was one of the most inspirational women I have ever met. She was widowed young and brought up a young daughter without her husband. She had amazing spirit and seemed tough enough to deal with anyone, yet gentle enough to be one of the best friends a young girl could have as I was growing up. Unfortunately, Alzheimers invaded the latter years of her life and it was very painful, especially for my mother who had probably been closer to her than anyone, to watch how that horrible illness could seem to steal so much away. HOWEVER, it does not take everything. It cannot take away our memories of our loved ones in their happier and healthier times. My late great-grandmother still is and always will be a great inspiration to me, and I’m sure this is how it is and will be for you about your father. I wish the best for you all, and I think that it is good that you express your feelings about it all in your blog if you want to. Not only does it provide an outlet for your feelings, but it can also help others going through similar things, who may not have the courage to voice it, by letting them know that they’re not alone.

    • shoes says:

      Thank you hippyh. I am sorry to hear about your great-grandmother but am glad you had someone in your life that was inspirational to you. I have been writting down a list of memories I have of my dad which I am finding to be a joy to remember. I am planning on writing them down on small pieces of parchment paper, rolling or curling them up, placing them in an old glass canning jar and presenting it as a Christmas present to my mom. I may have to make a separate one to keep for myself. The process is very healing. This post was me crying words through the keyboard, through the real tears and I was not even sure I would ever post it but I am glad I did. It helps to get it out there and I can only hope that it helps others who may be going throught a similar experience.

      • hippyh says:

        Thank you for your kind words, shoes. I think that your idea for a Christmas present for your mom is a very moving one. To have a collection of memories like that for each of you would be a wonderful treasure trove to possess. :)

  7. This must be such a challenging journey for you. Sending you many good thoughts.

    • shoes says:

      Thank you for the good thoughts. This journey definitely helps me put things in perspective and has taught me to grab the good moments with both hands.

  8. Hi!

    This is so touching and I can understand how difficult that phone call would have been. We have 2 people in our family who have moderate Alzheimer’s and it is so tough, observing the changes. Thanks for sharing and my thoughts and prayers are with you. I also appreciate you visiting my blog and “liking” my poem “Tiny Hands.” I will be back soon to read more…take care, Lauren

    • shoes says:

      Lauren – I am sorry to hear that your family is also affected by Alzheimer’s. It is one of those things I am finding I have to take day by day and while I try to find the positive in things, most days it is a challenge to find the silver lining in this situation. I enjoyed your poem. I find the subject of hands to be a very powerful one. I have strong and lovely images of my dad’s big man hands in his fuzzy yellow work gloves walking with a young me in our pasture tending to the cows and chickens of my childhood. Thank you for stopping by and leaving a comment.

  9. What a touching post to read! I feel for you and anyone who has parents who are slipping away like that. I sometimes forget to be grateful for my parents’ health. Good reminder.

    • shoes says:

      Thank you. Some days are better than others. This experience has really opened my eyes to what is really important in life and is a constant rememder to me to be grateful for all the amazing things I do have in my life.

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  11. It is a brave and commendable thing to write about the difficulties of your life. you did it with honesty and grace, and I am glad that you have chosen wordpress as your outlet. I get flack for talking about depression on my blog, but I continue to do it because it helps me as much as it might help someone who is also afflicted. I am certain that your post has touched and consoled many. Thank you for sharing.

    • shoes says:

      Thank you. I hope my words are able to help or support others who are going through a similar experience. I can’t believe anyone would give you flack for writing about depression! That kind of make me mad that people would do that. Depression, along with many other not so “main stream” or “socially pleasant” topics are important. I think when you read fun pieces on someones blog and then they drop a serious post about some struggle in their life, it makes them more real and strips off some of that anonymity the internet provides. I, for one, enjoy all your posts – the fun and humor as well and the dark and very real.

  12. Gems says:

    I am so sorry you are going through this. All I can say is using blogs as therapy does help. My intro to the blogging world began as I sat in a hospital with my then 5 year old son. I blogged for two years, never actually seeking an audience or comments, just pouring my heart out. It helped, and I gained some very good friends along the way. Now I blog for fun. But in a way, I still feel myself writing in the same style as I did my other blog…train of thought rather than carefully constructed essays. I am so glad we connected, even though it was through our ‘non therapy’ posts. Much love you you and your family xxx

    • shoes says:

      I have also found blogging to be good for my soul. After reading a little about your son on your Healthy Mom blog I went over to check out your blog about the health struggles with your son. It was a heartbreaking read but you all seem so strong and brave (of course when faced with such things in the end that is all you can really be). But it is hard. I can not imagine. My 5 year old has spend many a day at Children’s Hospital checking his VP shunt and learning more about his seizures but during our visits there I always see someone who I would not trade places with. It gives me a great dose of perspective.
      The present story my family is living with my dad’s Alzheimer’s builds up within me and I find writing about it to help. I am glad to have met you through our blogging experiences, thank you for your kind words.

  13. Maiya says:

    This truely was a heartwrenching post. Thank you for dropping by my blog and commenting.

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