I am always moved to melancholy and tears watching my mom sing songs. She used to be a soprano singer so you can imagine her ‘Ave Maria’. Today in the second stage of Alzheimer’s she doesn’t recognize you by face mostly by the sound of mu voice. Sometimes I am Manuel Angel. Most time I am “mi hermano”. I must remind her of my uncle Roberto. When she hears my heavy footsteps walking behind her she calls out for my father another Roberto. I must have his heavy footstep sounding pounding on the hollow Cuban times in her home.
Eventually, people with the illness begin to be disabled by it. My mom is already wheel chair bound. Though the distant past may be recalled, as she shows no desire to remember such events. Recent events become difficult to remember too like repeated conversation within the same day. Advancing Alzheimer’s affects the ability to comprehend location, the day, and the time. Caregivers like Ramiro’s are very comforting as they are familiar. He must give her clear instructions and repeat them often to get her to respond to guest when they visit with her. As Alzheimer’s patients’ minds continue to slip away, they may invent words and not recognize formerly familiar faces. But she still remembers her songs and her Catholic prayers that thankfully her nighttime nurse Suszanna from Hungary recites to her every night before bed.
As time passes, when are nothing more than our thoughts not our ways, stay positive stay clear of mind give give of yourself in everyday and in every way. Love her your mother so your happy thoughts are more vivid if your final days are this way, Living the American Dream as a Cuban exile sitting on the oceanfront home with her close shut for days.