My caregiving journey began about six years ago when my mother, Liza, developed a dual diagnosis of dementia and early Alzheimer’s. While watching my mother walk through life with this kind of disease, I’ve had to bear witness to something that’s gradually robbed her of memory, mobility, and speech.
For the most part, mom is non-verbal, but we still manage to communicate with each other—something I am grateful for. Even a small amount of communication let’s me know she’s still my mom. I know because small parts of her personality still shine through. Maybe it’s similar to the time when a child first communicates with a parent—how they coo and learn their syllables. It warms my heart in the same way when my mother manages to share even a few words.
It’s hard to see a disease take hold of someone you love and watch as it takes their independence away—especially because my mother has always been such a strong woman. She always stood up for what she believed in. And she taught me to do the same.