You don’t know this, but my day is upside down!  Every Friday, for many, many Fridays, I have looked forward to the 5 (or sometimes 6) minutes where I join in with lots of other writers for Five Minute Friday over at Kate Motaung’s.  I get my kids up and started, I get my mom up and started, I get my kids to school, I get my mom breakfast, clean up, make a giant mug of coffee and turn on my computer….

But not today.  The entire day is almost gone.  Mom is eating her evening bowl of coffee ice cream and things are settling down for a quiet evening at home.  But I just couldn’t settle in without turning on my computer and taking this 5 minutes just for me.


mother daughter hands

Have you ever seen a familiar face at the market or at a school event or at the gym?  Or heard the faint notes of an old song that you somehow know you used to love?  Or wanted to tell your husband about something you read on the internet?

And you reached back into your memory to find the name or title and artist or interesting fact.  Some names are easier to remember.  Sometimes I have to find a bit of the song and start singing to get to the title, but I usually get there.

Not when you suffer from Alzheimer’s.

Alzheimer’s buries things.  EVERY thing.  So far back in your brain that you can’t possibly reach it.  Arms aren’t long enough.  Patience isn’t enough.  Clues no longer jar the memory enough.  And still she tries.

She reaches for words – simple names of simple items. Toothbrush gets stuck right on the tip of her tongue.  While she’s holding it in her hand.  Wondering what she is supposed to do with it.

She reaches for purpose and rhythm and routine.  That toothbrush becomes the enemy.  Because somewhere in the ALZ brain she knows it is familiar.  She knows it has a purpose.  She knows she should be able to figure this out.  But she can’t reach it.

She reaches for names.  Names of people she’s known forever.  Faces she’s seen in photographs – many of them photos she took on film she drove to the drug store and paid to have developed.  Photos she sorted through in those yellow envelopes and chose specifically for this photo album and that.

And I watch her.  And I try and help her.  Help her with clues and sounds and hints and hand holding.  And she looks at me and knows somehow I am safe…but she has no idea why.  She can’t remember.  More and more things.  More and more names.  More and more people.

I’m no longer her daughter, but I am still safety and comfort and love.  But it’s getting harder for her to reach.  And I’m afraid.  Afraid of the day when I can longer reach her….when we can no longer reach each other…


18 Comments on Five Minute Friday – Reach

  1. Yes. This. Beautifully written, painfully true. I love the picture. I love that your post brings back memories of my precious grandmother. Praying for peace for you and your mother. And strength and joy. God bless you.

  2. When that day comes rest peacefully knowing that it is much harder for you than for her. This is such an awful disease. My mom was very fearful in the beginning but the worst she got the more relaxed she got. I am very fortunate in that aspect. Hugs to you my friend. Hang in there.

    • I know that’s true…she had such a weird weekend. She was very quiet, just wanted us in the room with her, but no conversation to speak of. I am hoping she will get more relaxed, but that’s so outside her wheelhouse!

  3. Wendy speaks the truth, the worse your mother gets, the more relaxed she will be. My mother-in-law is in that place now. My husband and I comfort in being with her and give her more touch.

    Lovely post and worth the wait for you to write in the evening. I relate so much to your words – you are still safety and comfort and love to your mom. I feel the same way with my mother-in-law and my neighbor, Miss D.

    • Thanks Nancy – and thanks for stopping by – I just found some great new sites off your recent post!!! Love the one about T-Bone!!!
      Yesterday mom was basically silent and just wanted me near. Last night she reached out her hand to me and just smiled. Didn’t say a word, just held hands until she fell asleep – so I guess I am still safety and comfort…

  4. I think we’ve all had that feeling that we can’t quite remember the word for something we should know…so I imagine it would be like that, only magnified because it would be almost every word and concept that should be familiar to us.

    • It’s so interesting to watch her…sometimes she gets angry and sometimes she cracks herself up and sometimes she weeps silently and sometimes she gets embarrassed and tries to ‘play it off’…it’s the most awful thing ever. It sucks, plain and simple.

  5. This is so poignant. Kudos to you for you love, care, and concern for your mom. Not everyone cares through actions like yours. Your writing really related the pain of this disease in a powerful way. The toothbrush….wow, what an amazing image. Terrific post from an obviously terrific lady.

    • Thanks Lisa…I’m not sure why, but watching her struggle with her toothbrush is so powerful. I mean, she’s been brushing her teeth for 83ish years…this isn’t one of the things she is supposed to forget. Alzheimer’s on the surface and in the newspaper and even on the internet (up until recently) is much different than Alzheimer’s in your home and in your face.

  6. I love five minute Fridays but haven’t done one in a long while. I love what you have written today. It’s well written full of good imagery… especially since you are not supposed to edit. You have a great talent.

    • Thanks Jenn…I was blessed with fast fingers and it was my mom who made me a pretty good speller and wordsmith (she worked for the newspapers for a good part of her life). I love the freedom and exhilaration of FMF – it’s like a sprint!

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