The Small Things are Really Big Things

IMG_2071The longer a person lives with Alzheimer’s Disease, the more likely they will need assistance walking … and eventually be unable to walk at all. Watching my mother progress into the late stage, it’s apparent that fear is as much a culprit as this ability-robbing disease itself. Ever since she fell and broke her hips last year, she’s been fearful. “Don’t you let me fall and crack my head,” she blurts with nearly every transfer. She has difficulty swallowing too. Yet, by having the foods pureed and liquids thickened she’s able to maintain the dignity of feeding herself.

We savor every bit of ability, even when spoken words are few or jumbled. Yesterday when I arrived to visit, Mom was napping in her wheelchair. I approached softly, “well, hello sleeping beauty,” I whispered. She slowly opened her eyes and then reached up to hug me, exclaiming, “Maryann I love you!”

You see, her inabilities haven’t diminished her ability to immerse in the little things. I share memories of the places we’ve been, and while car rides now seem impossible, it is still possible to transfer her of the wheelchair and onto the love-seat. The CNAs use a Hoyer lift, just as they do to get her in & out of bed and to the bathroom. When Mom sits next to Dad on that love-seat, something “magical” happens inside their 62 years together. A peacefulness overcomes them and joy exudes from their smiles. It’s as if Alzheimer’s is temporarily erased. It’s necessary to grieve while journeying through this awful disease … but it’s also necessary to maintain faith, hope and love. You see, the small things are really big things, now as well as someday.

One thought on “The Small Things are Really Big Things”

  1. Dear Maryann,

    This journey is indeed one of looking for the precious little things like jewels which suddenly appear unexpectedly and in unusual situations. I often wondered when my mother had those times when she appeared to recognize my Dad or my sister or me if these were not reminders to us not to ever lose hope in the power of God to make all things new again in heaven.

    As for my family things are changing after nine months or so after Mom’s passing with Alzheimer’s. My Dad, now, does not dwell so much on the past few years of Mom’s Alzheimer’s but seems to be focused in looking ahead to cherish times of eternal renewal with her in heaven. This is hope. That is where my focus is and not so much on the dreaded years of Alzhemiers on earth but the hope of heaven. I pray you and your family at the right time will be blessed with this view and are comforted.

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