Alzheimer's Daughter

The Story

Alzheimer’s Daughter introduces the reader to my healthy parents, Ed and Ibby, years before their diagnosis, then recounts painful details as our roles reversed and I became my parents’ parent.

Their disease started as translucent, confused thoughts and ended in a locked memory care unit after a near decade of descent into the opaque world of Alzheimer's.

I began writing Alzheimer’s Daughter one week after my mother's death––when I was stunned, realizing Dad had no memory of her or their 66-year marriage.

I write to pay tribute to the undying spirit at Ed and Ibby's core, and with the hope that the story of their parallel decline might be helpful to others.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

In church this morning the sermon referenced pruning the grape vines to increase the harvest. 

It's a beautiful day here in Ohio and I knew I was coming home to do yard work. Pruning shrubs was on my list. 

My minister is a gardener, so she talked about using levels of tools for pruning depending on the job. We use hand pruners for small jobs, loppers for larger jobs, but sometimes we need the chainsaw. If we're in a hurry, we zip-zop with electric hedge trimmers. 

I don't own electric hedge trimmers. I don't like to hurry with my yard work and I don't want my shrubs to look like identical gumdrops. Instead I prune with hand pruners. I like the bush to take its own shape as it makes new growth.

The minister said we need to do pruning in our personal lives too. God doesn't use electric hedge trimmers to make us all the same. We have individual experiences which shape us as we make new growth.

My parents' journey through Alzheimer's shaped and pruned me. In the aftermath of Mom and Dad's deaths, I reflect on the lessons they taught me and I'm so thankful for them. Sharing my story through Alzheimer's Daughter has allowed me to compassionately connect with others. As caregivers, we all share the same story of trying to do what is right for those we love.

Every passage in our lives prunes us in some way, teaches us, shapes us as individuals to make new growth. 

As I worked outside today, I pondered the sermon and snapped the above picture. I'd still be outside if I hadn't developed a big blister from pruning. Any day I can work outside in beautiful weather long enough to develop a blister is a fabulous day. 

Hoping your day was wonderful as well.


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