Fuck off, Alzheimer's. I mean it. Forgive me, gentle readers, but I have had enough of that particular specter. You came and stole my mother in law, and that was bad enough, but now you have come for my mother, and that is a level of remove I did not appreciate fully until it struck. GO AWAY and leave her, all of us, ALONE. My kids are basically screwed now - it's on both sides of them, and it will creep in and steal them too.
How DARE you come for my mother? Don't you know who she is? She is a doctor, she gave her entire professional life to helping others, to making sure others were cared for. How dare you turn her, a community icon, an beloved authority figure to so many, a champion for the underserved, healer, missionary, teacher, mother, friend, into a doddering, timid, questioning, insecure, anxious, old lady? Do you think it doesn't stab me to the heart when they give me that sad, apologetic, knowing smile? Do you think she really can't see the people at church actively avoiding her at coffee hour, not wanting to have the same conversation for the tenth week in a row?
What is WRONG with these people? Those same people who would sidle up to her at every opportunity to ask her to squeeze them in next week, come in to the vestry to look at this mole, and does the baby look all right to her, now avoid her, because THEY don't have the time and patience to hear the same story again. Everyone will hug me and whisper how sorry they are, how sad it is, but no one will tell her. No one takes her to lunch, asks her over for a cup of tea. After all those late night phone calls she answered, extra miles she went battling insurance companies, countless hours spent. Nice.
Is it really them I am railing against? Or is it just that I can't stand seeing my mom reduced to this caricature of who she once was? Worst of all - she KNOWS this is happening. She knows her mind is going and it is breaking her heart. It breaks mine to hear her say "I was never a great beauty. We know this. But I was always the smartest woman in the room. Who am I now?" We both shake out fists at the sky, but the sky never answers.
And oh, I am selfish too. I MISS my mother. I want her advice, her counsel, her cheery voice at the end of the phone. My children miss her smiling face at their concerts, cheering on the sidelines, helping with chemistry homework. GIVE HER BACK, Alzheimer pigs!
Please, give her back. Please?