Tuesday, January 5, 2010

She is but a mere shadow

A shadow of her former self.
My Mother in law has Alzheimer's
Alzheimer's has stripped her of the women she used to be.
It saddens me when people think she isn't here anymore...
She's still inside this shadow and needs all the love, grace and
compassion we can share with her.

It amazes me how she can sing word for word all the old songs at this picnic,
but can't remember what she just had for lunch...
or what year it is..
she can remember her SS # and her birthdate..
but can't remember her grandchildren or great grandchildren.

I love the peace that is in her eyes and her smile in this photograph,
she knows the words to the songs and her world is still.
For a few moments she looks like herself... not the shadow.

We love the mere shadow of her as it is fading.. slowly...
and oh so painfully to watch.


  1. It's so hard to watch, isn't it? My mother-in-law is going through the same thing, while her husband is battling multiple myeloma. It breaks my heart to see them this way...

    How wonderful that you have this glimpse of her true self.

  2. oh honey...i'm so sorry - this is so heartbreaking. this is a beautiful portrait of her - something to treasure.

  3. I'm glad that there is still happiness inside her. I'm sorry that your family and she has to go through this.

  4. I worked for many years with dementia patients as well as helping to care for a father in law with Alzheimer's...there can be many beautiful moments during this debilitating disease...looking for those moments may help you get through the bad parts.

    Thank you for this very moving post...

  5. This brings back memories - my grandmother didn't know who I was either. But she was still so sweet and loving. So sorry this is happening to you all, but so glad you caught her in such a tender moment!

  6. incredibly touching and brings back memories of my gran.

  7. This is my mother exactly. She is 85, still lives alone in a duplex in GA...and is legally blind from macular degeneration...I live across the country from her. My brother and I want her to go into assisted living but she refuses. I spent a month with her in October - she breaks my heart. I would tell her I was going out to dinner with a high school friend, five minutes later, she'd ask, what are you doing tonight. My brother came with his family and the two grandchildren and, an hour after they left, my mom remembered nothing of their visit. It truly is heartbreaking.

  8. It is a beautiful picture and story. I like your take on the shadow. My grandmother passed when she was 93. she no longer knew us, she would just say who are you people, and hold my hand and we would talk. Lots about when she was a teacher many many years before. I hope for your Mother in Law peaceful days that bring her joy. I agree with Oliag look for those beautiful moments. My prayers are with you and your family. love to your mother in law.

  9. My sweet grandaddy suffered the same. It's like a thief that robs you of who you are. Stealing everything but your shadow.....

    Nice post!

  10. So sweet to read your loving words. I'm glad she was happy with her memories of the familiar songs that day.

  11. i am glad you have memories of her brighter days...

  12. Such an awful condition, Alzheimer's.

    My husbands maternal grandmother suffered from it. Her condition came on suddenly, though I suppose looking back we all realize now that it wasn't so sudden. There were signs, we simply didn't see them.

    Not as much was known about it, even as recently as fifteen years ago. Most of the 'signs' were simply considered a part of 'growing old'.

    A beautiful photograph.


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