ProHealth health Vitamin and Natural Supplement Store and Health
Home  |  Log In  |  My Account  |  View Cart  View Your ProHealth Vitamin and Supplement Shopping Cart
800-366-6056  |  Contact Us  |  Help
Facebook Google Plus
Fibromyalgia  Chronic Fatigue Syndrome & M.E.  Lyme Disease  Natural Wellness  Supplement News  Forums  Our Story
Store     Brands   |   A-Z Index   |   Best Sellers   |   New Products   |   Deals & Specials   |   Under $10   |   SmartSavings Club

Trending News

10 Fibro-Friendly Foods with a Bonus: Beautiful Skin

Fight Back! Win the War Being Waged Against Your Immune System

Studies Show that Magnesium L-threonate Improves Brain Plasticity, Leading to Direct and Significant...

Clary Sage Oil May Be Pricey, but Its Benefits Are Priceless

Component of red wine, grapes can help to reduce inflammation, study finds

Poly MVA: A Novel Therapy for Increasing Energy, Repairing DNA, and Promoting Overall Health

Pumpkin Pie Turmeric Breakfast Smoothie - Vegan + Gluten-Free

Vitamin D supplementation extends life in mouse model of Huntington's disease

What’s Fenugreek Good For?

Omega-3 fatty acid stops known trigger of lupus

Print Page
Email Article

Becoming a Stranger to My Mom

  [ 531 votes ]   [ Discuss This Article ]
By Lori Allen • • July 15, 2002

Editor's Note: This article first appeared in "The Chicago Tribune" and on the Web site "Ageless Design," and is used with the kind permission of the author and site owner.

Whether my mother knows me was never a big deal to me. The first time she forgot who I am, it was worth noting, but it didn't make me sad. That memory lapse occurred about four years ago. After a good hour of togetherness in our shared home, my mother looked me straight in the eyes and asked, "Where's Lori?" I expected this with Alzheimer's. I knew it didn't reflect her feelings for me, and I knew it wouldn't last, at least at that stage of the disease.

My sister and I find it interesting when the first question someone asks about Mom is, "Does she still know you?" as if her memory of us would be our main concern. We never know whether to be insulted or address the narrow understanding of this devastating disease.

I've spent much more time grieving Mom's loss of independence, competence and dignity than I have fearing she'll forget me. It's simply more painful to see my mother carefully aiming her legs into the sleeves of a blouse or waiting for my deceased father to come home from work than it is for her to call me Abbott, Jean, Teacher or Mrs.

To be fair, there is a difference between forgetting my name and forgetting me. But in the five years since Mom was diagnosed and my husband and I moved her in with us, she has forgotten me plenty of times. Enough that I felt prepared to become a stranger to my mother. That was until a recent episode showed me it might not be that easy after all.

It was evening, when I must engage Mom in activity or conversation so her mind does not concoct some duty or circumstance to anguish over. I was trying to reach her emotionally, a fairly reliable tactic, when I said, "Mom, do you know how dear you are to me?" and went on to describe why.

Smiling politely in my direction, my mother asked, "How could that be? You hardly know me!"

I'd hit similar roadblocks before. So I applied a well-practiced routine to jog her long-term memory. "I am Lori. Remember when you gave birth to me on June third, 1957?" ...Pause... "Wasn't that a glorious day, Mom?" ...Pause... "I was a good girl, right?"

She usually enjoys the reminiscing, but this time Mom listened quietly and did not catch on. She raised her eyebrows and cocked her head to get my attention. Then, in her most cordial tone of voice, she explained, "Well, I was just told all this recently."

How I prefer it when Mom first sees me in the morning. Her face lights up. She corrects her sleepy posture and declares, "There's my little girl!" Our arms wrap around each other. Our hands pat each other's back. We kiss cheeks as our heads bounce from shoulder to shoulder. Like a dance, rhythmically and symmetrically performed, our ritual is comforting in its familiarity.

The experience is equally gratifying when Mom's weekday caregiver brings her home from an outing and I greet them at the door. Surprised to see me in my own house, Mom proclaims, "Who's this?! Oh, come here, Honey!" Consumed with emotion, her coat half off and dragging on the floor, she grabs me and squeezes with all her might.

"I like when you call me 'Honey,'" I say.
"Well, Honey, I'm so glad you're here. I missed you."

On this recent evening, however, we wouldn't have a warm exchange. Instead, I was missing her for the first time. Although I didn't want to believe I'd have trouble coping with Mom's failure to recognize me, I worried about losing the mother who raised me on affection and the love I could still count on. I realized at that moment why this would be so hard.

It's not that I love being loved by my mother. Although I do. It's that Mom is most herself - her original self -- when it comes to loving. Despite this destructive disease, my mother's loving soul remains intact.

Mom can't form a complete sentence with real words that makes sense or isn't some confabulation -- unless, it seems, she's expressing love. She may not be able to set a table, but she still can give a tender touch. When Mom is holding me in her arms, I can forget she has Alzheimer's.

I know many whose loved ones with Alzheimer's no longer know them. Most of them say they are still appreciated as caregivers. I expect as I become a stranger to Mom, she will still appreciate me, but the relationship will end there. If she does not recognize me as her daughter, how can she love me like my mother?

This will be a turning point in caregiving for me: Facing what Alzheimer's has left of my mother, every minute of every day, with no chance to escape the reality of the disease. At least I am assured of my ability to continue loving Mom even when she can't love me back. I've learned no other way.

Post a Comment

Featured Products From the ProHealth Store
Optimized Curcumin Longvida® Energy NADH™ 12.5mg Ultra ATP+, Double Strength

Looking for Vitamins, Herbs and Supplements?
Search the ProHealth Store for Hundreds of Natural Health Products

Article Comments

Be the first to comment on this article!

Post a Comment

Natural Pain Relief Supplements

Featured Products

Optimized Curcumin Longvida® Optimized Curcumin Longvida®
Supports Cognition, Memory & Overall Health
FibroSleep™ FibroSleep™
The All-in-One Natural Sleep Aid
Ultra EPA  - Fish Oil Ultra EPA - Fish Oil
Ultra concentrated source of essential fish oils
Vitamin D3 Extreme™ Vitamin D3 Extreme™
50,000 IU Vitamin D3 - Prescription Strength
Mitochondria Ignite™ with NT Factor® Mitochondria Ignite™ with NT Factor®
Reduce Fatigue up to 45%

Natural Remedies

A Hard-Working Molecule that May Help Ease Pain & Brighten Mood A Hard-Working Molecule that May Help Ease Pain & Brighten Mood
Magnesium + Malic Acid: One-Two Punch for Pain & Fatigue Magnesium + Malic Acid: One-Two Punch for Pain & Fatigue
Fighting Fatigue with Ground-breaking French Oak Wood Extract Fighting Fatigue with Ground-breaking French Oak Wood Extract
When a Negative is Positive - Goodnighties Recovery Sleepwear When a Negative is Positive - Goodnighties Recovery Sleepwear
Secret Nutrient for Radiant Skin Secret Nutrient for Radiant Skin

ProHealth, Inc.
555 Maple Ave
Carpinteria, CA 93013
(800) 366-6056  |  Email

· Become a Wholesaler
· Vendor Inquiries
· Affiliate Program
Credit Card Processing
Be the first to know about new products, special discounts and the latest health news. *New subscribers only

CONNECT WITH US ProHealth on Facebook  ProHealth on Twitter  ProHealth on Pinterest  ProHealth on Google Plus

© 2016 ProHealth, Inc. All rights reserved. Pain Tracker App  |  Store  |  Customer Service  |  Guarantee  |  Privacy  |  Contact Us  |  Library  |  RSS  |  Site Map