Through the eyes of an Alzheimer patient…


Eyes are the windows to the Soul!

This week I had to travel a very very far distance to go help and be there for my mother leaving home to a place of care for Alzheimer patients…the only one in town. This certainly has been one of the worst realities of our family’s path that we had no choice but to just deal with….

Slowly over the past seven years we have watched my mother deteriorate..but nothing as dramatic as the past 3 months…

When I saw her last in December 2009, she still had some sparkle in her eye…recognising all of us – kids and grandkids…
This week, I was saddened to notice her eyes looking straight at if a blind person…not recognising any of us…..her eyes were glazy and gloom and it was as if there was no soul behind them.

Alzheimers robbed her of her personality and has left her with some outbursts of anger and trauma. This, while the certificate of her being named the town’s friendliest person and friendship person of note – awarded by the City Council, proudly hangs on the wall of her bleak room…

This is what we see looking into her eyes from the outside. Who will ever know what she sees looking from within to the outside world? We have no idea what she might still know and what she is unable to structure and organise her thoughts and words.

One of the patients asked me how it is possible that he was locked up in jail (referring to the steel gate that keeps them in)…..if he had done nothing…..?! He is awaiting trial (he says)…but nobody can tell him what his crime was..

And that is the sad part – it has nothing to do with their own doing….no crime on their part….it is something that just came upon each of the 22 patients in this fascility…all of them at a different stage of the disease.

To drop her off just days after their 50th wedding anniversary, has been and will be a traumatic event for a very long time for my father who is still going to his office every day…still a working citizen.

You can never mistake what is going on in someone’s soul when you look into their eyes….
Looking into my mothers eyes made me realize that there is no return…there is no other option but making peace with this reality … there is very little left there….

And when I left to come back home…. I could not say goodbye… I simply had to leave…. telling her that I would be back the next day…..feeling guilty but also glad that she would not know that the next day would only be in eight months’ time when I will  return back “home”….

Kids are suppose to leave home…not parents…

But through the eyes of an Alzheimer patient…the world becomes a blur and nothing make sense anymore….
…sometimes because it does not make sense….
             ….and sometimes because THEY can not make sense out of the things that still have meaning..

Robbing them is a crime…not on anyone’s account..but the family is left with the emptiness of it all…

But the grateful part comes into the fact that she had a good, full life and lived life to the full each and every day she had the presence of mind…and for this lesson, I am thankful to my mother ..if only I can be as good as she was fulfilling this philosophy…!



2 responses to Through the eyes of an Alzheimer patient…

  • Rose - The Center of My Self says:

    That was such a soul-touching post. I started to skim as I usually do when short on time, but the words compelled me to start again and read it all more slowly; there was a message of importance here. I feel your honesty and your courage and your grace in this transition time. Alzheimers is such a thief. Your note to me about reading her cards and letters was very moving, too. Such treasures. May God bless you and yours with continued grace, strength and beauty.

  • mymothersbrain says:

    I'm so sorry you had to go through this. But you and your father are only acting for your mother's safety. It's not about locking her up or abandoning her — it's about keeping her safe! She can still be happy if she is treated well, if the people around her are happy and smiling. Wishing you and your dad peace in this decision!

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