Apr 18, 2010

Let It Be or Let it Go?

Perhaps Lily is right. It is best to let what exists go. Otherwise the unsaid response to, "How is your Mom, "might drive all my friends away.".....
By Kerry Runyeon
Alzheimer's Reading Room

Today I was driving Lily to "Leonards" as she calls her adult day care and "Let it Be" came on the radio.

That's been around since the 60's, said Lily laughing, and nobody has let it be.

Same old damn thing every minute. (remarking about the repeating melody)

I say......and she starts singing the the melody of "Let it Be" to,

Let it go, Let it go, Let it go, Let it go.

Let It Be or Let it Go
And then the lyrics go on to say,

"And when the brokenhearted people living in the world agree, there will be an answer, let it be".

Mom says,

And they have never found the answer and never will.

Mom's comments got me thinking about how true her words really were for me taking care of her. Sometimes there is no good answer in the Alzheimer world and the only thing to do is let it go.

Do any of you out there ever feel like I do -- when someone who is around your loved one tells you how lucky you are that he/she is so pleasant and so easy -- a little resentful.

Like if you really only knew. Sure Lily is pleasant much of the time which does make it easier and I am so thankful for this, but part of me feels they really don't understand. A lot of me feels guilty for even voicing this.

For example how often are you asked, "How is your Mom (fill in the blank for your situation) doing?"

I never know quite know how to answer. I usually say something like, "Oh she is doing fine, pretty good." How many details do people really want? Probably not much. Most people (me included) want to hear good news.

They don't want to hear details like:

Well, this morning Lilybird beat me downstairs again which means the cats could be outside, the dogs out of their pen, and the dishes washed with no soap. Fortunately, today, that was not the case. So after fixing her hair, applying her make up, feeding her, and giving her meds, I decided to get myself ready......Before leaving the room I told mom for the 18th time that we have no soap so she can't do the 3 dishes that won't fit in the full dishwasher and to stay out of the kitchen.....I'm hoping that if Lily stays out of the kitchen she will not try to do the dishes again.....As I was going upstairs the phone rang so I grabbed it and headed on up and found "poop" on the floor and walked into my carpet.....My immediate thought was-- the dogs? But then again it was right outside Lily's bathroom? So there I was scrambling to be ready to go out, knowing Alice, mom's aide was coming at 8:30am, cleaning up poop while talking on the phone, worried about Lily trying to do dishes downstairs, when my daughter Emily beeps in and is stuck in traffic on I-675 and wants to know if there was a way to check traffic on the internet! .....Next, when I walked downstairs -- Lily was just putting the damn dishes away.

“Now what were you asking me????”
You get the idea.

As pleasant as she is, Lily requires constant attention which is really similar to my world when my kids were toddlers just with a whole different dynamic. I don't know how many people truly understand the world of a caregiver.

Answering the repetitive questions or remarks which reminds me of Lily's comment to the song above...."Same old damn thing every minute." Ironic huh?

Always trying to maintain Lily's dignity as an adult and her sense of belonging. Not wanting her to feel she is a bother or trouble because if she begins in the slightest to feel me becoming impatient -- the agitation and wanting to go home sets in.

Trying to do my best by her yet not forget the rest of my family needs me also.

"So how is your mother?"

There really is no good answer to that question for most. We as caregivers just keep plodding along with some good days and some not so good ones.

Lily changed "Let it be" with "be" meaning that exists to "let it go."

Perhaps Lily is right. It is best to let what exists go. Otherwise the unsaid response to, "How is your Mom, "might drive all my friends away."

Kerry RunyeonKerry Runyeon, RN, BSN is the primary caregiver for her mother Lily. Kerry chooses to focus on the humorous aspects of her journey with Alzheimer's disease. Her blog Living in the Moment with Lilybird is a reflection of her experience. Kerry resides in Dayton, Ohio

Original content Kerry Runyeon, the Alzheimer's Reading Room