Today is my mother’s 91st birthday. I am heading to Alliance this evening for dinner to celebrate her special day with my her and my brother. My mother suffers from advanced Alzheimer’s, a disease she has lived with for about 10 years. It’s a cruel condition, she is healthy otherwise but unable to communicate much with the outside world today. In recent years her body has weakened and she is very much confined to a chair.
Kudos go out to my brother who takes expert care of her and tends to all of her needs. He has given selfishly of himself over these past years. I do not believe my mother knows who I, my brother or most people are. However, it is obvious in her eyes that she knows that my brother is someone who cares dearly for her and a person she loves. I believe the same can be said about Nancy, my mother’s day caregiver. She has been by her side during most of this illness and takes extraordinary care of her.
The following poem comes from Poems from the heart by Caregivers, Family Members and Alzheimer’s Victims. I think it’s very appropriate for this day. Happy Birthday, Mom!
She’s Still my Mother
She’s still my mother, who’s standing there.
It’s still her eyes, her face, her hair.
It’s still her body, but it’s just a shell,
Of the mother that I once knew so well.
She’s still my mother, who looks at me,
Then asks the question, "Who might you be?"
Her memory’s fleeting, her gait is weak.
Loved ones long gone are those she seeks.
She’s still my mother, whose angry words,
Like a sharpened sword, my soul can hurt.
She’s still my mother, who shares our home,
This one we dress, whose hair we comb.
She’s still my mother…I know tis true.
And so dear God, I turn to You.
Please give me patience, wisdom, and love,
Til the day that You take her to heaven above.
Let me return…if even through tears,
The love she gave me through all these years.
Though she often thinks that I’m her brother,
I’ll love her yet…she’s still my mother.
Copyright © 1997 Jerry Ham