Saturday, February 5, 2011

She is Telling Me

I just got off the phone with my mother. Thousand of miles away, there are only words, and the tone of voice, and loving energy to carry through what I want to say to her. That I love her, and that I understand. I got news from my brother that her condition has deteriorated since I last saw her two months ago. She is even more hunched over, and her gait is not as steady as before. She needs to lean on furniture and walls to move around. Today, I suggested to her that she uses a cane, and she agreed that yes, some times, she might need it. "That's true, I am 88 . . . " I told her about my life, and my two daughters. "You have two? How old are they?" She got a bit confused when I mentioned my brother and his three year old son. "I need a book to keep things straight." Yes, absolutely, she needs all this information written down. Pictures alone are not enough, anymore. 

Caring for a loved one with Alzheimer's is first and foremost about mindful listening. No need to wonder what to do. She is telling me.

Project for the day: making a collage of family pictures with names of people and relationship to my mother.


  1. Thank you for this post. I appreciate fully your mention of mindful listening as a means to know what to do.

    As I get ready to face my own pain and discomfort in seeing my dear friend and teacher recover from a stroke, what you have shared will prove invaluable in helping me to work both with his confusion as well as my own.

    Much metta.

  2. Oh! I am so sorry Tanya, and I wish you and your friend well, in your journey through altered mind territories . . . I trust that your practice and his/her will carry you through, and lead you to even deeper grounds.

  3. Maybe you could use your computer to make the collage in groups -

    This is "your grandson" at age one, and now here he is at three.

    This is me, Marguerite, when I was five, and here I am now.

    Since it's easy to see the features in a series of photos, Maybe all she'll have to do is look at the book to remember them.

    Congratulations on hearing her. Thanks for teaching us.

  4. That's a great idea, Karen. With my mother, however, she no longer has the ability to self-direct and turn pages of a book on her own. For now, I decided to keep it simple and made a collage of all her family members right now, with our name, relationship, and age. I laminated it and just sent it to my brother for him to bring next time he visits her. All her pictures at on the coffee table right in front of the couch where she spends most of her time now. The collage will find its way there :)

  5. thats a great decision karen..and i do respect u for ur caring and love that u sho wto ur old mom...let this love spread like a fire to the world around... respecting and caring old people is really great...their blessings will be with u for ever ...have a great day ..a great life...with love