I have some very wonderful memories of the time I was living with and caring for Mom. It wasn’t all bad. We had some very touching and very wonderful moments, hours, and even days together.
Some of my most cherished memories, were prayer time with Mom. No matter the troubles we endured during the course of the day, having our nightly prayer seemed to wipe away all the hurt and pain. I wanted Mom to go to bed peacefully, with happy thoughts, and feeling safe. She would get herself in bed and I would sit near her on the side of her bed so we could say a prayer together. She would hold my hand and we would talk about some of the fun things we did that day. If it was a bad day, Mom didn’t seem to remember, and I didn't think about it at that moment. I only brought up the good things. Then we would close our eyes and bow our heads.
At first it felt kind of strange holding my mom’s hands and saying a prayer with her. Not the fact that we prayed, but the way we prayed. I would say the prayer in short sentences, and Mom would repeat after me. Gosh, I have this warm feeling just thinking about it. This is a memory I will always cherish. I always felt that if she passed in the night, she would go to heaven peacefully and this would be my lasting memory. All of those prayers brought us so close together. Those moments made both of us feel so incredibly close and at peace with each other. It did for me and I’m almost positive it had the same effect on Mom. Before our prayers, I would say, “Mom, I want you to repeat after me and say what I say, OK?” To which she would reply, “Ok, let’s pray”. Then I would tell her to close her eyes and hold my hand. Mom was always laying down during our prayers, she kept her eyes closed until I said something that she questioned. Then she would open her eyes and look at me and ask me about it. I’ll give you an example. Every prayer I would ask God to forgive me (meaning she and I) for my sins. Since she is supposed to repeat after me, it means her, too. Mom, on several occasions would open her eyes, and with the love of a mother say, “But , Lizzie, you don’t sin!” To which I would open my eyes and say, “Yes I do Mom, everyone sins.” And she would say, “But you are so good.” Sometimes I had to convince her that I am a sinner, even though she didn’t agree. This was a great moment of affirmation that made me smile, my Mom did love me after all. Of course I knew she did, but some days were just so awful that it made me question if she really loved me still. There were only a couple of nights we didn’t pray, and that was because neither of us was in the mood. And believe me, that bothered the heck out of me. At the end of our prayers I would run my fingers through Mom’s hair and caress her like a child. Then I would kiss her cheek and tell her to have sweet dreams, and that we are going to have a wonderful day tomorrow. If we had a shopping day planned, I would remind her of that. I just wanted her to feel good, and as happy as she could, because I was scared out of my wits what was happening to my mom and I feared she was even more afraid than me. I didn’t want my mom to be scared. It was her life being taken away. But it was mine too, because my life has not been the same since learning she has Alzheimer's.