Jun 14, 2012

Before Dotty Went to Heaven She Changed Her Mind

Alzheimer's caregiving can be burdensome, brutal sometimes.

By Bob DeMarco
Alzheimer's Reading Room

I lost track of how many times Dotty said, "get out, I don't need you here, I can take care of myself".

This was particularly hurtful because I had dropped out of the world to take care of Dotty full time. Twenty four hours a day, seven days a week.

She had never said anything like this to me before, so I knew it was the Alzheimer's speaking.

It did not matter. It hurt every single time.

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Dotty said those words back in the beginning, during the period of greatest burden.

When Dotty was saying mean things to me, I was doing everything I could to try and change the dynamic. It just wasn't working.

I can still remember those days very clearly.

Now imagine how I felt when Dotty said this, just 16 days before she went to Heaven.

I don't want to go anywhere, I want to stay here, I want you to take care of me, I'll do whatever you want me to do.

Whew. What a moment in time.

At that time, I gave Dotty a little hug and reassured her that she was not going anywhere, and that I would be taking care of her.

Her words, "I want you to take care of me"  had a big impact on me at the time. But today, yesterday, as I reflect on those words, they are having a big positive impact on me and the way I am now feeling.

I wish I could do a better job of explaining to everyone how when a person is living with dementia, becoming more and more forgetful, there is more there than you can imagine.

How else can you explain how Dotty rallied out of nowhere, and said those words?

The very next day, Hospice was here assisting me. I'll tell you, those people had a very nice way of getting a sweet little smile out of Dotty. Those people? It seems kind of harsh to describe those wonderful people from Hospice as -- those people.

When we started on our journey Dotty told me to get out. She didn't need me. That went on with lesser frequency for around 3 years. Three long years of heartache, and stomach aches.

Finally one day Dotty started telling people, "Bobby is a good boy". Not that I can tell you makes you feel appreciated and useful. You get a nice feeling in your heart when that happens. Not an ache, a feeling of joy. A nice caress of the heart.

In the beginning, the burden was growing. In the end the joy was growing.

Each and every day, the joy was growing. Not only for Dotty, not only for me, but for those who were directly in contact with us. Dotty was spreading the joy around.

So near the end, and right before Dotty went to Heaven, Dotty left me with an enormous feeling of Joy by saying those words,

I want you to take care of me.

Those words canceled out all the burden.

Thank you mom. I miss you.

I love you.

Bob DeMarco is the Founder of the Alzheimer's Reading Room and an Alzheimer's caregiver. The blog contains more than 3,711 articles with more than 302,100 links on the Internet. Bob lives in Delray Beach, FL.

Original content Bob DeMarco, the Alzheimer's Reading Room