Monday, October 1, 2007

Today Is All There Is and Ever Will Be

My Mom has Alzheimer's Disease and she doesn't remember my name or even who I am. She sits in her chair at a nursing home and waits, though she doesn't know what she is waiting for, unable to even comprehend the coming of the next meal time. She doesn't know much of anything anymore. I ride my motorcycle, chased by a dark shadow never too far away.

She can still walk with help; her frail legs are too weak to stand on her own for too long. And she responds sometimes when I speak to her. Sometimes she says some things that almost makes sense. She surprises me once in a while by saying something that I thought she would not remember. She laughs and sometimes she cries. Little pieces of her old personality are still there.

She would walk out of the nursing home and keep on walking if the door wasn't locked. She did just that a few years ago when she was living in an assisted living facility. They found her after several hours a mile or so away, sunburned, dehydrated, looking at flowers in someone's yard.

My Mom can't eat on her own anymore. Someone has to spoon feed her because she doesn't have the coordination, know-how, or instinct to feed herself. It's possible she doesn't even sense hunger at all. She fed and took care of us 5 children when we were young. She can't take care of herself anymore let alone anyone else. Now it's our turn to take care of her. She deserves it and more.

I find comfort in thinking more about who she was than who she has become. She was an amazing woman who suffered many hardships in her life and overcame them.

I ride my motorcycle knowing that my Mom's fate may be my own someday. With certainty it will be for millions. There may be the day when this ride, all rides, and everything else in my life may be forgotten. My family, my wife, my children, my entire life may fade away.

I have learned that memory is the most prized of all possesions and to make the most of each day and appreciate everyone in it. I ride as if it may be my last ride because in a way, today, right here and right now is all there is, ever was, and ever will be.
To make a donation to help support Alzheimer's research and services visit the Alzheimer's Association website.


irondad said...

I know about cherishing day. That's been painfully driven home to me lately. She's still your mother, something no other person on earth will ever be. Tough to see her condition but never stop loving her.

Your comment on memories has started an idea for a post of my own, if you don't mind.

Kano said...

irondad-actually I think it was one of your posts that gave me the idea to make this post. So feel free.

Steve Johnson said...

I ride my motorcycle, chased by a dark shadow never too far away.

This is why the skull is such a common motif in the motorcycling community. It's always riding down the road with us.

I have learned that memory is the most prized of all possesions...

Every time my mom and I get together for a visit, I usually ask her something about the past, and I always end up learning something new about her, and sometimes myself. Best wishes to you and your family!

Kano said...

Steve-Thank you for your well wishes! Yep, I think that's a good idea what you are doing with your Mom, asking her questions about the past. It will help keep her mind sharp and will interesting for you to learn about life in another generation.

I think it's pretty amazing what the current crop of older folks went through; the depression, World War 2 and Korea.

Steve Johnson said...

I think it's pretty amazing what the current crop of older folks went through; the depression, World War 2 and Korea.

My mom was living in Tokyo the day the Allies bombed it. She was 5 years old, and still remembers it. At first, she thought there was some kind of celebration going on. That bombing changed the course of her family and put it into a different path, that caused a lot of grief, loss of family, loss of the family business, child abandonment, child abuse, and worse stuff that I won't mention in public. But that path did eventually lead to my birth, so go figure if that's a good thing or bad.

Kano said...

Steve J-It is kind of strange how bad things lead to good things. That's interesting about your Mom. My Mom was a Riveters Helper at Boeing in Seattle working on Bombers during WW2. She lost her fiance in the Battle of the Bulge. My Dad was a civillian employee of the Navy and he was working in a warehouse on the dock at Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. He lost a lot of his friends on that day. He spent the war years in Hawaii and afterward's got drafted into the Army and went to Korea.

Steve Johnson said...

So are you saying your mom helped build the planes that eventually lead to my birth? :)

My step-brother works for Boeing. Most of my father's side of the family lives up there in Renton & Seattle. And as for Pearl Harbor, I was born there, Tripler Hospital, 1966.

Kano said...

Steve J-At the risk of using an overused and corny expression "it's a small world isn't it?"