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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: At Wit’s End (02/13/14)

TITLE: When Love Hurts
By Sharon Dow


My mother sat on the couch beside me, her tears mingled with my own. This would prove to be the hardest day of my life.
Only six months ago she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. We had hoped she would be able to stay in the lovely retirement home we had found for her. It was new with spacious rooms, home cooked meals, and many activities. I was able to take her out most days, either to visit at my home, or on a shopping trip, even for a short drive. It was the best we could hope for under the circumstances.
But the disease moved faster than we could ever have anticipated, and this morning I had received a call from the retirement centre to tell me that she must move into the nursing home next door. She had advanced beyond the care they were able to provide.
Most days she was not fully aware of her surroundings or why she was where she was, but today, her mind was sharp and she was totally aware of the move. And she didn’t want to go. Nor did I want her to go. Even today, many years later, my tears are flowing.
I had gone to the centre to begin the move to next door, but we were both so distressed, that I brought her to my home where we sat and cried. I told her how much I loved her and that we’d get through this together.
I ran through our options in my head. Could I keep her in my own home? We were a family of five; my husband and I along with three small boys. A full-time job already. Could I take on a patient who would only get worse? I remembered the call from the specialist six months ago. At that time I asked him if I could keep her at home. He very strongly told me that it was not a possibility and that she needed twenty-four hour care. Was I able to provide that, he asked? And what would I do when she escaped from the house in the middle of the night, and what about when she withdrew knives from the kitchen drawer, or turned burners on high?
He was right; I could not give her the care she needed. Nor could I face putting her in the nursing home. My brother and my husband were rocks of support. My brother was in full agreement that we must follow the doctor’s orders and put her in the home. He knew and my husband knew, that I was not trained to give her the care she needed, nor emotionally or physically could I cope with this extra burden in my home.
So with extreme reluctance, we drove to the retirement centre, packed up her things, and entered the building next door. The atmosphere, although friendly and efficient, was a dramatic change from the retirement centre. She was to have a private room, but until one became available, she would share a room with another lady. This was very difficult for her in her confused state. Everything was new and different; so hard to cope with in her dementia.
I have to admit that I cried myself to sleep every night for several weeks. During the day, I did not have that luxury as life needed to go on for my husband and little boys. Breakfast, lunches, lay out clothes for the day, make sure hair was combed and teeth brushed, walk the boys to school, tidy the house, plan the evening meal; and only then could I fix my focus on my mother.
Each day, after the morning routines were over, I drove to the nursing home and spent time with her. She did not adjust easily; perhaps it would be more honest to say that she never adjusted. Almost daily I could see her decline both mentally and physically.
She lived for several more years, but the quality of life was not there. Only God, in his infinite wisdom, knows why she and I had to travel this path; he who knows the end from the beginning, who sees the big picture, and who makes all things beautiful in his time.


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This article has been read 363 times
Member Comments
Member Date
C D Swanson 02/24/14
My heart goes out to you (and all those individuals that face similar circumstances and/or scenarios)--I have been with countless family members who'd been in your shoes, and have held their hands while they cried, and then sat with their loved ones as they cried. Heartbreaking, but such is the reality for some.

My heart is with you as I read this piece, I felt your love and torment along with your resolution that it was the right choice.

You've described your inner turmoil and experience so well.

She's in a far better place now until you meet again.

God bless you abundantly~
Cynthia G. Peoples 02/25/14
Excellent writing that had to be difficult to write for you. Thank you for sharing your story!
Francie Snell 02/25/14
I am so glad you shared this. It sounds like such a difficult time in your life and a story that can be such a blessing to others. It was for me.
Brenda Rice 02/26/14
This is so touching, so true to life for many people.

I felt your emotions and I felt hers.

Thank you for sharing your story with us. It is well written.
Judy Sauer 02/27/14
Congratulations on 2nd place!!! What a thrill.

Your true life story tugs at the heart in ways some can fully connect with and others praying it doesn't happen to them. Your heart breaking can be heard around the world in this entry. Well done and God bless.
Judy Sauer 02/27/14
It appears there are two 1st place winners so congrats again. My previous comment mentioned 2nd place.
C D Swanson 02/27/14

God bless~
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 02/27/14
Congratulations on ranking 2nd in your level and 26 overall! The highest rankings can be found on the message boards. (I know the ribbons and announcements are a bit different. I've let the person in charge of the challenges know, but the official rankings are on the message boards too.)