Alzheimers: The Long Goodbye Or Hello?

There are two popular books on the disease of Alzheimer’s:  The Long Goodbye and The Long Hello.  The author of The Long Hello works to counter the premise that Alzheimer’s is only about loss. The book’s goal is to help its reader find the gifts (dare I say the hope) in Alzheimer’s. Yes, there are days when some new gift comes to me and my mother, something we wouldn’t have without the Alzheimer’s. I’ve written about some of these gifts.

But yesterday, I could only focus on the fact that Mom is different now since her hip fracture and surgery. It appears she has lost a lot in these last 5 weeks and I simply felt sad and overwhelmed by the enormous changes in her outlook, in what she can no longer do for herself, in her will that is diminishing. Yesterday was a Long Goodbye kind of day. But today was a Long Hello. Today she made it up 3 steps into my home. I remember asking the OT if she would be able to use steps again. I was concerned she’d never be able to sit on my deck and enjoy the view.

But today she did. She sat there, sipped on an iced tea and behaved in a way I had never experienced. She noticed tiny details in my garden, asking about each one. She was present to something I love in a way I hadn’t ever experienced. A new kind of Mom, a woman who has more time for me. This is the Long Hello. And yet, I still feel sad.

The above is an excerpt from the journal kept by me and my mother.  It was written by Laura on 5/21/2013.

A note from Laura today: I wish you could see my mother walk now!  It’s amazing.  But my hope can’t be in outcomes like this.  Doing THAT doesn’t seem to help.

Mom on the deck having a long conversation with a guest and Hazel The Beastly Beast Beagle.

Mom on the deck having a long conversation with a guest and Hazel The Beastly Beast Beagle.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Kathy Boone

    Oh so sweet a time as this, you will never forget. Cherish every precious moment.

    • laura

      Yes Kathy so true! I think it was in that moment that I began to learn that I had to open my eyes to the gifts in the midst of the loss. Certainly the loss deserves to be lamented and our culture fears lament, sadly. But to not see the gifts and thus experience them would mean I’d grow weary and lose heart.

  • laura

    Yes Kathy so true. I think it was in that moment that I began to learn that I had to open my eyes to the gifts in the midst of the loss. Certainly the loss deserves to be lamented and our culture fears lament, sadly. But to not see the gifts and thus experience them would mean I’d grow weary and lose heart.