This is a sad week for my family.

My mother was moved into a memory care unit at her retirement community. She and her husband moved to the community a year ago with the idea that someday this would happen. What no one expected is that someday would arrive so fast. But it is here and it is time that she moves to a space in which she will be well cared for, kept safe and no longer a full time burden to those who love her.

The reality is that the person who was once my mother is mostly gone. There is still a joyful person inside, but she is mostly anonymous, with no past, no future, and only a present and that is short term at best. The many details that make up a long, full and rich life are largely gone from her memory.

Seeing my mother’s life reduced to circumstances that I know would appall her is beyond sad, beyond grief, beyond words. And now to have to stop living with her beloved is just heart breaking.

While I grieve her lost memories, reduced life and our relationship, I also worry that perhaps this is my future too – all children of parents with Alzheimer’s worry about this.

I know that as we age, all of us suffer from some short term memory loss; this is normal and to be expected. But since my mother’s Alzheimer’s diagnosis any little blips in my memory are a frightening reminder of what might be in store for me. The bottom line is that none of us are promised a long and healthy life. Anything can happen.

Each of us has the possibility of coming down with some catastrophic disease or suffering from misfortune. I have written a little bit some of what I have experienced: the random murder 38 year ago of a beloved cousin in Waiting for the Other Shoe to Drop; my cancer adventures; several years ago I shared a post from a friend whose son tragically died way too young, In This I Will Find Beauty; as well as a few posts about my mother’s Alzheimer’s diagnosis.

Because of my experience with tragedy, medical scares and other random events, I have always been a sucker for quotes that tell us to “LIVE AS IF THERE WAS NO TOMORROW” or “NO REGRETS,” because we are not promised tomorrow no matter how healthy we eat, how much we exercise or how often we meditate.

Years ago I chose a quote for my highschool yearbook page, that I felt drawn to then and still holds sway with me today.

“If I Had My Life to Live Over

I’d dare to make more mistakes next time. I would relax. I would limber up. I’d be sillier than I have been in this life. I’d take fewer things seriously. I’d take more chances, more trips. I would climb more mountains and swim more rivers. I’d eat more ice cream and less beans. Perhaps I would have more troubles, fewer imaginary ones.

You see I’m one of those people who lived sensibly and sanely hour and hour, day after day. Oh, I’ve had my moments but if I had to do it all over again, I’d have more of them. In fact, I’d try to have nothing else, just moments one after another instead of living so many years ahead of each day. I’ve been one of those persons who never goes anywhere without a thermometer, hot water bottle, raincoat and parachute. If I had to do it again, I would travel lighter. If I had my life to live over, I would start barefoot earlier in the spring and stay that way later in the fall. I’d go to more dances, ride more merry-go-rounds, pick more daisies.” – an 85 year old woman

So in honor of my mother, who can no longer take a juicy bite out of life, I will laugh too loud, take up too much space, make tons of mistakes, apologize with an open heart, and love fiercely.



As a blogger, I enjoy sharing my ideas and thoughts with people, and I get a special thrill when someone leaves a comment. When you share my posts on social media sites, I jump up and down doing a happy dance. So thank you!

12 thoughts on “This is a sad week for my family.

    1. Heidi BK Sloss Post author

      Thank you. Anyone who knows her and what she was like can see the diminishment of my mother. Your dad has been wonderful and while this next phase is hard, it is a very loving thing to do.

      Reply
  1. Suzanne Stavert

    This one made me cry. I am so sorry Heidi. What a wonderful daughter you are. This is not fair and I am with you…Live for today and enjoy every morsel. I plan to take all of the “juicy bites” I can. Thank you for this beautiful and thoughtful tribute. xoxo

    Reply
    1. Heidi BK Sloss Post author

      Life sure isn’t fair, and we are all under the illusion we have so much time. In a blink of an eye it is over. Juicy bites out of life are really all we have. Thanks for your kind sentiments.

      Reply
    1. Heidi BK Sloss Post author

      Thanks Lorrie, I would like to think she would like this tribute. Alzheimer’s is a harsh disease and as hard as it had been on her, it is heartbreaking for those of around her.

      Reply
  2. Jenelle Daniels

    I loved the last line. “So in honor of my mother, who can no longer take a juicy bite out of life, I will laugh too loud, take up too much space, make tons of mistakes, apologize with an open heart, and love fiercely.” Put it into the book. 😉

    It’s so hard watching our dear loved ones age. Become weak. Not be what we are so used to them being. You’ve honored your Mother. I’m sure she is grateful for your love and care. Sending love to you and the fam during this difficult time.

    Reply
    1. Heidi BK Sloss Post author

      Thanks! It is hard and to soon, but it did green very much like a turning off the wheel of seasons if you know what I mean.

      Reply
  3. Alicia S

    Read this with tears in my eyes for what you are having to go through. You phrased it so perfectly when you said, “she is mostly anonymous, with no past, no future, and only a present and that is short term at best.”

    We are going through this with my aunt/godmother right now. She doesn’t have a past anymore, doesn’t remember her grandchildren or what she had for breakfast. She is my mothers sister and my mom feels that this is the most disastrous thing that could have happened to her sister and she fears that it will happen to her also.

    When I look at my aunt though I see a woman that is happy in the present, even though she will not remember it in an hour. She’s joyful and has a great appetite. She doesn’t remember anymore the pain and suffering she had throughout her long life (doesn’t remember the joy either). She’s at peace and is just always looking forward to being taken out, whether it is to the store or the doctor. She enjoys good food and eats an apple like this is the first time she’s ever tasted one…and for her it is…again, the first time.

    There are both good and bad points to Alzheimer’s, but definitely Heidi, live life to the fullest and dance in the rain. Eat apples like it’s the first time you’ve every tasted one and savor every bit of life!

    Awesome post and my thoughts are with you as you walk this path with your mother.

    Reply
    1. Heidi BK Sloss Post author

      Thank you for your sweet comments and warm wishes. It is so hard to watch someone you love go through this at the end of their life. And fear it might happen to you. I am grateful that my mother is receiving great care and is surrounded with love. And it is a lesson of being in the moment when watching her. But the sad thing is that I know that she (the part of her personality that is mostly faded) would not like to be living like this at all. I remember her telling me this specifically a few years ago and even in a more lucid moment a few weeks ago. All we can do is love her and preserve her dignity as much as possible. Good luck with your aunt’s care. The bittersweet joy and sorrow of this disease are being experienced by so many on the planet right now!

      Reply
  4. Cristi Comes

    Oh I’m so sorry you’re family is going through this. My grandfather had Alzheimer’s and his sisters both had early onset Alzheimer’s so I definitely fear for my mom. I know what it’s like when that person you love slips away by losing memory. It’s so hard to see. Sending you lots of strength.

    Reply
    1. Heidi BK Sloss Post author

      Many thanks! It is sad and poignant and joyous all at the same time. I had a long conversation with my mother today, much of it didn’t make any sense but she was trying to communicate and connect and that came through loud and clear!

      Reply

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