Thursday, November 18, 2010

to much

I believe I have mentioned Daddy was a retired WWII vet, he served our country honorably for 25 years.When he was old that translated into nice pension. When he died last year, based on who knows what, My Mother received 64% of Daddy's military pension and is also entitled to an additional "Widows pension" that is a big $97.98 a month. Which of course is another batch of paperwork. Immediately upon getting her medicaid paperwork done that pension was applied for an sent off to the Vet. Adm.
It has now been 10 months and for the 5th time I am submitting paperwork. This time I had to write "why and what for" I needed to submit a complete accounting of her "income" for the last 12 months. the is no income to keep because the nursing home takes every penny and why she could use the big amount of $97.98.
Since there is no life or burial insurance and there was no savings it would be nice if i could bank some money to bury her when the time comes. A friend assures me Medicaid would bury Mom. Here in NY the most basic funeral starts around $2500 I would have to borrow the money.
After spending 2 1/2 hours filling in more paperwork I cried and cried and cried.
My Daddy served our country and it seems to me this amount of money for his widow should not have to be fought for by myself or anyone else.
When I saw Mom Monday I mentioned this to her ( stupid me) and she got very confused. After filling out and writing, my husband held me while I cried. Brad is all ready to get our congressman involved. I sent off 6 forms completed a 2 page letter from me. I hope this time it will work.
You know taking care of my mother's business is draining because she can't help and it reminds me of the loss of both Mom and Dad.
After feeling so sad I get angry I didn't sigh on to do all this stuff. They were supposed to have everything taken care of so that whoever was left standing could either stay with me or in a lovely little apartment. NOT
The good news however is that since Brad, Heather and I are go out o town for Thanksgiving; Joe is picking up his grandma for Thanksgiving Day.
There are so may sides to the death of one parent and Alzheimer's claiming the other. For me I get angry, sad, tearful and many other emotions. When the dust settles I know in my heart that no matter how much is involved in my mothers' last years I'll do it all. Why? Because underneath all the bad times, I do love her. I know in my heart I am doing what is right, what the Lord wants me to do and Daddy would expect nothing less.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Pretty heavy thoughts

Sometimes just posting what I write my 3 older kids is less painful than recounting an event...
"Stewart and Rachel, I am sending this to you both and hope your reading this will save my heart from having to repeat all this to you both about the visit. Joe and I took your Grandma to lunch. She looped and had a "peeing" accident. Mostly she was quiet..

Hi Joe,
I did not get home until after 9 I called both your numbers but got voice mail. Brad only said you wanted to discuss Grandma.
I can tell you it is very difficult to watch her dissolve before my eyes. I am not sure which is more painful and sad her being nasty and mean or her being so childlike. When I returned her as we walked toward the elevator she grabbed my hand very hard and simply said, " I hate it here." I squeezed her hand and just said, "I know."
When we got up to the second floor we got out and she looked around and asked where her room was so she could change her clothes. I pointed her in the direction kissed her and left. I cried all the way home.
For some reason her behavior reminds me of the scene from Wizard of OZ when the witch has water thrown on her and she yells, "I'm melting, I'm melting!"
I was told how difficult this would be; Alzheimer's has no rules nor a pattern each person is different. For most, so I am told by the "experts" she will gradually forget us and retreat to a world only she can get too.
Sadly I think that will be sooner than later.
I love each of you very much and pray with all my heart this does not happen to me. Later, Mom"
IT is not easy having a parent ill, I almost think when Mom had cancer and went through the chemo it was easier than this. At least with the uterine cancer we knew how to fight it. There is no fighting this disease it will take her no matter what I do. Even though we have not always gotten along, there were years when I was little she was all I had and I held onto her hand when I was afraid. Now the rolls are reversed only I know I can NOT protect her from what is happening. Do you think she knows that she is "melting?" Do any Alzheimer's patients know they are dissolving before our eyes?
When I look into her eyes these days mostly they are blank,sometimes angry and for a brief moment I think I see fear..
I can't imagine what it is to be in the mind of an Alzheimer's victim. Victim is an accurate description. Why? I have decided Alzheimer's attacks like a thief in the night; mostly to women who are over 75, it does not care about race, social status or anything else. Those who have been "attacked " have no way to get away.It traps them in a world where eventually they live ALONE. There is NO amount of money that will free our relatives no amount of medicine or care that will change their path. They will evaporate, they will melt away and we WILL LOOSE our loved ones.
Who they once were will be only memories, that is all we will have to hold onto. Maybe that is why there are so many tears?As I have said since the beginning of this blog "Alzheimer's Is HORRID!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

a letter and more

As I have said before we have 5 kids between Brad and I. Joe 41, Stewart 33, Rachel 28 those 3 are mine, Todd 36 Brad's and Heather almost 10 ours. It has been a rough year and I have not always kept in touch with family as I usually do. I just sent the following letter to a few family and friends. Writing down in a brief note helps put the the last 15 months into a nutshell and helps me find some peace.
" Dear.....
On my google page it has a countdown to Christmas, which today said 40 days. Now I don't know about you but I am still trying to figure out what happened to Spring and Summer. I am so sorry for not keeping in touch. Facebook is about all I have time for these days. When I review the last 15 months since Daddy died I realize life has been off the wall here in Ballston Spa.
Just in case you are curious there are many people who have not heard from me. The sadness until recently was pretty overwhelming. I see why people used to wear black arm bands to denote a family death. It would have made it easier than explaining why I have been so sad. I didn't know I could cry so much. For me it seemed like I buried both parents.
To be very honest I didn't realize until a few weeks ago that I truly have been in mourning. Daddy was one of my best and dearest friends. He was for me the perfect Daddy. Leaving me with a Mother I seldom got along with and now who not only has Alzheimer's but continues to be mean and when we are lucky nice. Even though she is in a nursing home she is still very much part of my world. She takes a tole on all of us. Poor Heather sadly was Mom's last target. Heather will most likely not go visit her Grandma again.
And then there of course so many deaths, 14 in all, my surgery and yes the shoulder still hurts and there are days when my whole right arm is swollen. Of course the newest twist is Brad's broken foot. He is on disability for at least 4 weeks or longer. Of course that means another cut in pay.
Please know , I think of you all the time.
Email, facebook, call, drop a snail mail note let me know when you are home and have a few minutes to talk. I have called a few times but reached an odd voice mail and did not leave a message, I hope everything is okay.
Hopefully we can connect sometime before the year ends. We are here for Christmas and in Massachusetts for Thanksgiving.
Love you all, Jewels"
I hope that helps those who wonder how I have been, reviewing it just makes me feel tired.
I did see Mom the other day she is not as angry when we are in the "common area." She seems more childlike or maybe childish.
Since she appears to have no since of time Joe and I are taking her out to lunch on Monday. Discussing the holidays seems pointless. We shall see how that pans out... In the meantime I just want to find a quiet place so that my heart and soul can find peace and quiet.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

hmmm for some reason....

It is very odd how this disease affects me. Even though the last visit with Mom was okay and actually sweet I somehow dread going again. I suppose it is because I have no clue what will happen.
When she and Daddy were in AZ. I begged them to come here for years. they choose not to. Now she is 15 miles away he is with our Lord and I dread yes DREAD having her involved.
We are having a Church Thanksgiving dinner Saturday. She went with us last year and had a good time. I have her ticket but I am afraid. Nervous, sad and generally over whelmed at the holidays being here already.
My new son-in-law's mother passed away right before the wedding to my Rachel. He would give anything to have her back for the Holidays. I wish ....anyway this is not an easy time. I feel like I am on an emotional roller coaster.I really don't wish her to pass to the other side BUT I have to admit for the rest of the time Mom is here it will only get more difficult. Or maybe I am just having a bad day...

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

my birthday

Sigh, it seems that these days the term "bitter sweet" applies to all events that once included my parents.
The sweet: My 60th party was full of 40 friends and family. Great music provided by a friend who is a musician, the best chocolate cake anyone has ever eaten. To my surprise lots of presents.My party was a wonderful success!
The bitter part: no call or flowers or card from my parents.
Now the next hurdle Thanksgiving...Odd they were in Arizona for 23 years and never flew out for any thing, Stewart and I were the ones who went west. So why should it break my heart that Mom is not going to be with us. We are (if all goes well with her) taking her out to dinner the weekend before Thanksgiving.Even though Christmas is less than 2 months away I can't even start to think of that holiday.
And just in case you were wondering there are still and will be until she passes; bills, phone calls and worries. All which I have to attend to frequently.
Since the retreat my heart and soul are more at peace. Thank you Lord!