Tuesday, June 9, 2015

1979 Kmart Snackbar

I walked across the street over lunch and bought a slurpee. I'm sucking on the straw, pushing it down into the last spoonful of slurpee, pulling it up and pushing it down to create little craters in the sugary cherry fluff and then it hits me. I'm immediately transported back to the year 1979. I'm sitting on the cool, red, slightly curved snack bar bench at Kmart with my mom. We are waiting on my dad to buy his fishing gear. Mom is smoking and drinking a Pepsi. It's a little dark in the back of the store and I can smell the stale popcorn. The memory is so vivid.

Our senses really are pretty incredible.

Savor the details.

Monday, June 8, 2015

The Cruel Curse

When I tell people my mom has Alzheimer's Disease they usually reply with, "My Dad did too. Or my Grandmother did too." Everyone seems to know someone who's lives has been turned upside down due to this disease. It is a cruel curse for so many families who are both blessed to have living parents and grandparents, yet cursed to see them sick.

My sister said to me quietly over the phone this weekend, "She's slipping away." I know this. We all know this. But to hear it spoken out loud seems to make it all that much more real. I wanted to whisper to her, "Shh…don't say that. She's just tired. She'll be better tomorrow."

The reality is tomorrow will bring new challenges for her. Challenges that won't be overcome. Problems that won't ever be resolved. It's truly heartbreaking.

We hired 24-hour in-home care for my parents back in December when I was home and Dad couldn't find his way out of their tiny bathroom. It is a bathroom he's had for 53 years. Something was wrong with him. He couldn't seem to walk well. He shuffled his feet taking tiny baby steps and was confused. Dad always loved to dance and since walking didn't seem to work, I placed put his hand on my hip, insisted that I lead and danced him to his chair in the living room. Ridiculous I know but it worked. After three days in the hospital, they still didn't have a good explanation. He had a mild case of the flu. His glucose level was a little high. That's it. No sign of stroke and mostly lot of shrugged shoulders and "he's old" talk.

This seems to be theme these days - no explanations and no solutions. One day at a time.