Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Loosing Our Loved Ones

    Many folks will read this title and think, oh this post is about a person that has passed. It's not, in my opinion, it's even worse. When I say losing a loved one, I'm referring to the terrible diseases called Alzheimer's and dementia. For the past four years, I have been taking care of my mom who suffers from both diseases. My mother's name is Altagracia Aracena. She had 13 siblings, 3 have past and 10 remain. She is unaware that two of her oldest siblings passed, but I guess you can say maybe that's not so bad. She was married to my father, Gustavo Adolfo Aracena, and together they had 3 children, my two brothers, and myself. 

Many people have different theories about what happens when a person dies. Some people say their soul lives on, they are here in spirit, they come back as animals, whatever the belief may be. The fact of the matter is that that person is gone, and all that's left is a memory, but what happens when the person is here in the physical, and their mind is not? When your loved one slowly forgets how to do simple things like where they left the car keys (Well that's not bad, that happens to me every day some may say). What about when they forget to turn off the stove, and almost burn the house down? How about losing train of thought constantly while holding a conversation? (Again, that can happen to anyone.) Of course, it can, a lot of those occurrences may be caused by stress, and those are the things that happen to most people that care for a person with these diseases. You become anxious and paranoid, you worry Jaime (Jaime = Alzheimer's, what an old friend calls it.) is coming for you, and all sorts of things go through your mind. Believe it or not, though, that is not the hardest part of caring for someone with those conditions. 

The hard part comes when they leave the house and are missing for 6 hours because they can't find their way home. When they can't dress themselves, or articulate a single sentence. How about when they become violent, they start breaking things and become physically aggressive? In my opinion, all of that has a solution, the one thing that doesn't is when my mother sees her children, and she can't remember who they are. People think they get it, but they really don't get it. My mother was the pillar of our family, she kept us all united, and she was always high-spirited and positive. As a child, a teenager, and an adult, I have never known someone who has loved me and cared for me the way that my mom has. A mother's love for her child is so strong, that it surpasses the love for your parents, your siblings, and your spouse. So how is it that a person that has so much love for me can forget me? (Wow, that's deep).
If it's this hard for me, imagine how hard it is for my mom. Honestly, who knows, she can't even express herself. I loss my dad at 37 to cancer, but I lost my mom at 45. 

This disease has so many stages, but the end result is always the same. We lose our loved ones while they are still living. The hardest part about this for me has been trying to hold on, and change the inevitable. Not being able to have a conversation with my mom, trying to make her understand something that I know she can't understand, and sometimes just wanting a break from it all. It gets exhausting thinking about if this can happen to me. How can I plan for this? How can I stop it, it's driving me crazy, lol. Not to mention the stress of taking care of everything for her. I think about my friends, and so many people that I know whose parents are going through the same thing, and my heart aches for them. This is no walk in the park. it is emotionally draining, you feel like someone hit the delete button on your entire life. You hope that there's a way to get your memory back, but the reality is that you can't.

This is only a small portion of the things that go on in my life. I have had really dark moments. Moments of sadness, sorrow, and depression. There have been many times where I have just wanted to give up. Many people don't know this, but I have been living in the Dominican Republic for the past few months, and in these months that we have been completely alone I have had many sleepless nights. My weight has been out of control, and my nerves are out of control. I'm not drinking as much, so that's a good thing, but the transition has been very hard. Hard because, no matter how comfortable I am, no matter how much help I have, I don't have my mom. 

So I decided to use this space to reach out to other folks that are going through the same situation as I am. I want to hear your story, and maybe we can comfort each other. Maybe we can give each other advice, send each other blessings and keep one another lifted in prayer. Sometimes just talking about it to someone who understands, helps.

5 comments:

  1. Thank you for creating this space. Mami is in the early stages of this horrible disease and it’s already becoming difficult to reconcile with the fact I am losing my mom but she is still here physically. We have to lean on each other for support. No one Can relate until
    It happens to your family. Sending you lots of love and prayers

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you, I totally agree, it is very difficult. We can lean on each other.

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