Hey caregivers, hope you are hanging in there.
I am writing this post two days before turning 30. Looking forward to what my future may hold, I can’t help but feel a sense of loss realizing what my mom and I will miss because of Alzheimer’s.
Sure, I expected some ups and downs, some hardships, and hopefully some success. I never imagined being a caregiver for my Alzheimer’s mother as one of my challenges. I expected my mom to be here with me during this stage in my life, but once again, our roles have reversed.
Loss As a Caregiver
It has been three years since I began supporting my dad and caregiving for my mom. The feeling of loss has always been there as different behaviors and stages of cognitive decline progressed, but I can’t say that I have ever felt the loss as heavy as I do at the moment.
There are many major life events that could happen during my 30’s: career changes, purchasing my first home, proposals, getting married, maybe having kids. I always imagined my mom would be there to share in those moments, to guide me through, to laugh with me in the good, and hug me in the bad. Realizing that I am reaching my third decade of life and facing these major milestones, it is hard to not feel a sense of loss knowing that my mom will be there, but not in the same way I always thought she would be.
Knowing the symptoms my mom has now and realizing how Alzheimer’s will progress, I understand that my mom won’t be able to help guide me through buying my first home. I know my mom won’t be able to share career advice. She won’t be able to share stories with me about pregnancy and raising kids. My mom won’t remember me trying on wedding dresses or be able to help me plan a wedding. I fear that a wedding ceremony will be too much sensory stimulation for her, and she will be distracted by the hustle and bustle instead of being able to enjoy the moment.
Once again Alzheimer’s has taken something from me that I will not be able to get back. It’s a tough pill to swallow.
Moving Forward with Alzheimer’s
Thinking about what is being taken away, but acceptance is my only option to move forward. I have learned to include Alzheimer’s as part of the plan. At least to the best of my ability. Thoughts about the future now include an Alzheimer’s path like a photo album for my mom when I try on wedding dresses. Sharing the news that she is going to be a grandma on repeat. Finding ways to find all the misplaced items (like when I had to find her lost wedding rings) Asking for love and support from family and friends when mom needs a little extra help.
Three years of caregiving has taught me that working with Alzheimer’s in the plans is easier. Trying to fight it will lead to failure every time. Acceptance lets me have precious moments with my mom, just in a different way.
Share Your Story
Do you have a similar story? Have you felt what I am feeling? Write a comment or send me an email. Share the love.
Find out more by visiting My Journey page