Thursday, September 25, 2014

"Take me Home"

The house which I had called home for twenty years of my life, now seemed unrecognizable. It was as if I was standing in the middle of a map - labeled cupboards and drawers, pictures ranging from family photos pinned along with members' names to photos of day to day grocery items, emergency contacts and directions to the hospital enlarged and pasted on the fridge and near the phone; and for the first time I realized the sensitivity of the situation.

"Here", Kiera placed the steaming mug of coffee in front of me. She hadn't said a word since I had stepped in this morning, she couldn't even meet my eye. I could see she was trying hard to contain her emotions, the tears at the edge of those dim eyes. Her frantic call last night still ringed in my ears, " Sid, you have to come home. I am losing my mind. I..." and she had wailed and sniffed for another few minutes before the line got disconnected. I had taken the first flight out.

"Kiera?" I gently placed my hands on her shoulders, "Talk to me, won't you?"

"Sid, please don't judge me. But I've already called in the facility recommended by Jean. She used to work there as a nurse. They specialize in taking care and providing for people like our Mother."

She quivered while speaking, tears running down uncontrollably. I leaned in closer to pacify her and then saw how five years of taking care of our Mother, who was diseased with the dreaded Alzheimer's, had taken a serious toll on my sister - physically as well as mentally.

I was in no position to judge her or question her. The little brother - the favorite son, had abandoned them in times of need, preferring to marry money instead. Guilty, I kept quiet.

"She has become more violent and adamant too. At times she screams looking at her own reflection in the mirror.... I've lost count of how many times I've been woken up by our neighbors in the middle of the night, Mother petrified standing behind them - barefoot, in just her nightie"

"She is slipping away Sid and she is taking me along with her. I can't... I can't do it any more!"

The dejection in her voice was apparent. I nodded weakly, "Where is She?"

I walked into another labeled room, which used to be my nursery, and curled up in one corner was her. I sat next to her, caressed her bony back gently. "Dean?", she whispered, too weak to speak. She rolled on my side, her eyes searched my face and her decaying brain tried to put a name to the face. " Dean!", she said again, and again, thinking of me as her late husband.

Two nights later I again got a call from Kiera. The silence at the other end told me that Mother had passed way.

We cried, clutching our phones, repeating that we were sorry. Sorry, not that it had ended but in the way in which it had. Our Mothers' last words, before the stroke were "Take me Home...Take me Home". Strange, how her degenerated mind which couldn't recognize her own genes, knew that the white walls where she lay taking her last breath, wasn't her home.

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Blogging for a cause, together with Write Tribe.

September 21st of each year is recognized as World Alzheimer's Day, where Alzheimer’s organizations around the world concentrate their efforts on raising awareness about Alzheimer’s and dementia. 

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22 comments:

  1. How much memories matter. This one was scary...very scary. I felt the pain.
    You write beautifully.

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  2. My aunt suffers from Alzheimer's and it is so sad to see such horrific deterioration in a human being. Very well written.

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    1. It can be tough for the family Suzy, to see a loved one in that state! My prayers with your aunt and your family!

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  3. So scary... I'm so scared that I'll forget everything someday ..what will happen then? will someone make an effort to make me remember!

    You have written it so well Aditi....Scary but well written

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    1. Oh hugs dear...don't worry so much...

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  4. This was both scary and touching. My heart went out for her.

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    1. Thanks Vinodini...glad you liked it!

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  5. Really touching.... Felt extremely emotional..

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  6. the story moved me... that's what they say, home is where heart lies!

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  7. There is nothing as heart-wrenching as a loved one not recognizing you...it's just beyond heartbreaking. You wrote of it so beautifully, Aditi.

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  8. I went through this with my Grandma before she died. She had Alzheimer's. She didn't recognize anyone at the end. One thing she never forgot though was the Lord's love for her and her love for Him. She had so much joy...even in her confusion.

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    1. It must have been difficult Kathy...but from what you write what a spirited soul your Grandma seems...more joy and peace to her wherever she may be...

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  9. nice one. most people lose their patience while dealing with the patients of Alzheimer's.

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    1. True Ankita, you do need a lot of patience in dealing with an Alzheimer's patient. And it is difficult for a single person to manage, the entire family must be equally supportive.

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