Monday, February 11, 2013

10 years

I know it's been at least 10 years, because Sunny my oldest daughter turns 10 today.  Peggy had been repeating herself a lot, we would find notes she made for herself and she just seemed... distant.
Then she didn't come to visit me after Sunny was born. Personality change, that was listed as a symptom on the Alzheimer's Association website, and I knew now not to take it personally and it was time to act upon our hunches that maybe Mom has Alzheimer's Disease.

Ten years ago, I had no idea we would be still be here, and that the disease would still be progressing.  I didn't know I would have two wonderful daughters that would remind me of what a great Mom Peggy was.  As I watched Sunny blow out her candles, I remembered how she helped me plan my 10th birthday party, ice skating and hot chocolate.   I was a brand new Mom ten years ago when I first took my Mom to the doctor, then gently encouraged her to move into an independent living facility, told her she couldn't drive anymore, moved her things into an assistant living center and eventually out here to California with me.  I'm not a new Mom anymore, and have learned how to talk to caregivers and neurologists, exchanged baby diapers for adult ones, learned how to maneuver wheelchairs and still keep her hairdresser appointments.

Peggy, Me and Sunny 2004
Don't get me wrong, I'm not a fool, and don't see that what I've learned along the way are due compensation for this rotten, mind destroying disease.  It's just, that on this happy birthday, I can reflect on the past 10 years and see past her diagnosis, and into the person and mother she is.  This comes  through when I hear Sunny's beautiful song and in the words Gidget said to me on Saturday. We were having a special  "Mom and Gidget" day together and I asked her what she wanted to do next, and she said.  "Let's go visit Nana"
Gidget and Nana