Tag Archives: Alzheimer’s

Stream of consciousness writing

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Wow, I just re-read yesterday’s post. I sound angry. It was an honest post though and although
I will be the first to agree that some sentences could have been better constructed, I’ve decided
to just leave it alone.

I am working with a lot of things right now. The first priority in my life is to make sure that my
Dad (two months a widower today) is okay and that all documentation allowing him to secure the
benefits he is entitled to after my Mom’s passing are taken care of. In this country of very slow
bureaucracy, there is not much to do after requesting a document than to sit and wait for it to
be ready. We are good at waiting; we know our part is done.

These last few weeks have found me in good health and in good spirits but every so often I do
feel that my days are lived in a bit of a haze. I feel like I know where I’m going and what I have
to do to get there but I am sometimes frozen in a thought…or worse, beginning a thought and
losing its thread in the middle and not being able to remember what the original thought was.
There is tremendous temptation in me sometimes to believe myself headed toward the forget-
fulness of the Alzheimer’s that diminished our lives when it gripped my mother. It was not all
negative though. The last 6 or 7 years have allowed me to get to know my father in a completely
new manner. I don’t really think I will or want to be another Alzheimer’s statistic. It was sad to
watch my brave and tenacious mom succumb to the illness. She is now resting in peace; I am
fortunate to have been able to spend so many years of good time with her.

My Weight Watchers journey continues positively. With my husband being away for a week or
so, I am able to eat some foods that he does not care for (tofu, brown rice, some exotic fruits,
some lovely Indian fare, etc.) and can keep a better handle on the “treats”. I will never blame
him (or anyone) for the extra 40 lbs. (it was 50 when I started!!) that I carry. No one forced me
to consume the extra food. The program works, any program works really, your mind has to be
in the game, however, for the success to be lasting. I think I shared that this time, I am pretending
to be getting ready for my television debut! It is a lovely fantasy. Last weekend, I spent a couple
of hours with my father going over some clothing of mine in a closet. I was shocked to see the tiny
clothing I fit into 20 years ago! I know I fit into the clothes because I have pictures of me in them!
I will never go back to a size 6…but I am still having trouble getting rid of clothing that I know is
not going to be loved as I once loved it.

All this decluttering has also sent me into the boxes and boxes of pictures and letters that have
accumulated in my drawers and shelves. I ran across a picture of me taken in 1967 just before
I turned 12. In the picture were my three siblings and our paternal grandmother. I examined
our faces closely. My oldest sister’s expression held a slight sneer as she turned to face the
photographer, who I suppose was our mother. My own expression is one of worry although it
could also have been caused by sun in my eyes. My younger siblings have neutral expressions.
The only one who looks like she was talking or about to smile was grandma. I think I will always
remember that about her: talking or smiling!

By the time the picture was taken, I had already decided that upon return to New York after that
summer’s vacation, I would devote all my energies to relearning Spanish. I find it hard to believe
(after all, I was only 11) that I had the discipline or pride to make that decision. A better one could
not have been made and I am glad I did it. Being fully bilingual has served me well.

image: bing.com public domain

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The cycle of life

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I write these words today filled with sadness because I have just learned that two of my friends have lost their fathers in the last day.  One was very elderly (in his 90’s) and the other was very heavy and ill.  As I recall my childhood and all of the ‘dysfunction’ that came with it, I am grateful that both my parents are still alive  (86) and that despite my ‘battle with the bulge’ I have actually enjoyed a close relationship with them both.  My father has never made any mention of weight loss or gain, always making me feel accepted by him at any size and Mom has been a victim of Alzheimer’s for 20 years so she is unaware of my current figure (or lack thereof!)!

It always seemed ironic to me that Mom bullied me on my weight as a child when she herself was always overweight and overeating in the classical mindless manner.  She wore her clothing extremely tight, not because she was trying to be a sex symbol but because she was the eternal optimist who thought she would be losing weight and refused to spend money on purchasing the right size.  I, on the other hand, prefer fitted (but not tight) styles at all sizes but do spend money upgrading (in my case ‘up-sizing’) my wardrobe and seem to have a range of clothing from XS (which I once fit into) to XL (which I am now squeezing into).  My mom did lose weight a number of times (on Weight Watchers!) but in her 60’s she really gave up the battle and decided to enjoy life and food without guilt or calorie counting!  At that time, I was in wonderful shape and we did many things together which included traveling and later on spending time with my children.  I miss my mother and see her every chance I get, grateful that they have the resources and she is cared for at home.  She always wanted that and I am happy she is there.

For today, I will remember that being overweight brings a host of other baggage, not only in an emotional way but in very real ways:   being winded after climbing stairs; not being able to get in and out of cars as easily or gracefully; not fitting properly in clothing; having to gauge whether or not I can walk  between two occupied chairs in a restaurant without having to ask people to get up and move to let me by…etc.  You get the picture.  I look forward to another successful day of reasonable eating.