Sep 26, 2013

Dotty Loved Flowers

Dotty would get a beautiful smile on her face when I handed her the flowers..

By +Bob DeMarco 
+Alzheimer's Reading Room

Dotty Loved Flowers

Dotty loved flowers. They fascinated her.

Every week or so, I would go to the store and buy Dotty flowers.

Dotty would get a beautiful smile on her face when I handed her the flowers. I can still remember and envision that smile. It brings back the joy every time.

Dotty liked all flowers and she liked them all equally. She liked and enjoyed  the "cheap" flowers just as much as she liked and enjoyed the "expensive" flowers.

A benefit of Alzheimer's I suppose.

Try that one on your wife -- Good luck.

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Flowers, daises actually, remind me of an important lesson I learned as an Alzheimer's  caregiver.

How I learned to accept and understand Alzheimer's World instead of being overcome by frustration at the smallest of things.

I would go to the flower store and buy Dotty some beautiful long stem flowers. Come home, snip the ends, put the flower food in the water, and put the flowers in the vases. Two vases usually.

Once I took my eyes off Dotty and the flowers and before I knew it, Dotty would start hacking away at the flowers. Within a couple of days, we would go from beautiful long stem flowers to two inch stems.

This would be particularly disconcerting when I would buy those flowers that look like white bells. They have very long, beautiful stems. I liked those flowers.

Why did we have two inch stems on the flowers? Because Dotty would start hacking away at the stems with a steak knife. There she would be, sawing away at the stems. Little by little, she would cut down the stems on the flowers.

When Dotty did this it really bugged me. It really made me feel uptight.

I tried over and over to explain the error of her ways to Dotty -  it didn't work. I tried to explain to her not to do it. Explaining does not work with a person who is deeply forgetful. It took me a couple of years to figure it out though.

Another thing that bugged me.

Dotty would keep on adding more and more water to the vases. Yes, I tried to explain to her that the flowers only drink from the bottom of the stems so in effect, she was drowning them. Plus, they don't last as long if you drown them. That didn't work either. Blah Blah Blah. Yep, that was me.

Finally one day, and after a couple of years, as Dotty was hacking away at the flowers I said to myself,

"you know what, I bought the flowers for her and she can do what she wants with them".

Surprise. It never bugged me again.

I had evolved as a caregiver.

Years later, Dotty stopped hacking away at the flowers.

She did, however, still try to drown them by pouring her glass of water in the vase. That didn't bug me either. I simply poured out the excess water when she wasn't paying attention.

A rather simple solution the feelings of frustration -- wouldn't you say?

The day had come when it was no longer about me, and how Alzheimer's made me feel.

Instead it was about Dotty and what made her happy.

I really miss how each morning Dotty would look at the flowers and tells me how she couldn't believe how those flowers kept growing every day.

I have to chuckle thinking about this. Instead of hacking them down, she now believed there were growing.

Another interesting aspect of the flowers. During the first couple of days Dotty would constantly tell me how she couldn't believe that the flowers were continuing to stay so nice after weeks.

I continued to buy flowers for Dotty each week.

Dotty loved whatever flowers I bought for her. Flowers made her smile and made her happy too.

The flowers also made me happy because I learned a simple lesson. Long stem, short stem, hacking away at the flowers, drowning in water, it doesn't really matter.

Does it?

Dotty went to Heaven on May 25, 2012. I think of her often. We really had a good time together.

I actually learned a lot about life from Dotty. I guess you could say she taught me how to smell the "flowers".

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Bob DeMarco is the Founder and Editor of the Alzheimer's Reading Room (ARR). Bob is a recognized influencer, speaker, and expert in the Alzheimer's and Dementia Community Worldwide. The ARR Knowledge Base contains more than 4,000 articles. Bob lives in Delray Beach, FL.
You are reading original content +Bob DeMarco , the Alzheimer's Reading Room