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WritingAfterDark

Blogs of Writer, Artist, Photographer, & Caregiver Joanne D. Kiggins

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Joanne has published more than 2,500 articles and was award recipient of the 1990 Woman of the Year for Beaver County, Pennsylvania, for her accomplishments and excellence in journalism and to the community. Her co-authored book, “Unforgettable Journey,” won fifth place in the Grand Beginnings romance contest. An excerpt from her WIP, “Unearthed,” placed her fifth in the Absolute Write Idol contest. Most recently, her essay, “Perseverance,” is published in the Stories of Strength anthology in which 100% of the profits are donated to disaster relief charities. Her most recent articles were published in ByLine Magazine, Writer's Digest, AbsoluteWrite.com, and Moondance.org. She has a monthly freelance writing column at Absolutewrite.com. Currently, she is the sole caregiver for her 85-year-old mother.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Nice Visit -- Big Surprise for Mom

I got Mom up at 9:00 as I do every Saturday morning. We went through our regular routine of getting her into the shower, dressing, and eating breakfast. By 10:35 she was ready for her day.

We normally sit at the breakfast table after she's finished eating, so it wasn't out of the ordinary that she sat drinking her coffee while I excused myself and used the phone. I called my brother and told him she was ready.

I sat waiting anxiously for him and his wife to pull up and wondered how she would react when they came in the door.

When she heard their car pull up, she asked, “Who’s that?”

I said, “You have company, Mom.”

When my brother and his wife walked in, I could tell by the expression on her face that she wasn’t sure who they were.

My sister-in-law walked up and hugged her and said, “Hi, Mom. How have you been.”

I thought for sure her bubbly voice would ring a bell and Mom would realize who she was, but that look of confusion was still on her face.

She said, “Do you know these people? It’s been a long time since we’ve seen them.”

I knew from that statement that she wanted me to tell her who they were; their faces were familiar, but she couldn’t figure out who they were.

“I sure do know them, Mom. Do you?”

“I think so,” she said.

My sister-in-law jumped in immediately and said, “Sure you know us, Mom. This is your son, Bob, and I’m his wife, Boots.”

Boots handled it perfectly, introducing themselves.

After they talked for a few minutes, Mom asked where they were from. She was still confused.

I sat at the table to make sure Mom was comfortable with them there and told Mom I was going upstairs to let them visit.

Mom said, “You can stay down here.” That is always a sure sign to me that she doesn’t want me to leave the room, but I felt they needed their time with Mom without me there.

I said, “I know, Mom, but Bob and Boots don’t get to visit often and this is their time to visit. I get to see you every day.”

She seemed okay with that and I went upstairs. I came down a few times to take her to the bathroom and went back upstairs when she was finished and back at the table with them.

After a few hours, Mom told them she was tired and they decided it was time to leave. They seemed like they had a nice visit. They thanked me, I said they were welcome and they went on their way.

They gave Mom a picture of her great-grandchildren and put all their names on the back.

After they left, I took Mom into the living room and sat with her. She was very quiet and thoughtful for about 10 minutes as she stared at the picture. Then she said, “who are these people in this picture, and who were those people that just left?”

For the rest of the day and most of the afternoon, I explained the same thing over and over. “That was your son and his wife and the picture is of your great-grandchildren.”

I think by the time she went to bed, she finally grasped who they were.

“Wow, that was a big surprise to see Bob and Boots today!”

“I’m glad it was a surprise, Mom. Glad you had a nice visit.”

I was glad they had a nice visit. I'm sure my brother has a little better understanding of a few things about Alzheimer's Disease. At least he saw for his own eyes how easily Mom tires out, how slow she is at getting around, and how often she forgets what's just been said.

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