Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Mama, unplugged

My Mom has Alzheimer's disease. This disease has received so much attention in the last few years that I don't need to elaborate. It's awful...enough said.

Mom and I have never been close and I'm not sure why. In past years, I would have rattled on about the why. But, as I age, I'm content to let the past lie quietly, a little bit of personal history that is what it is. I doubt there is further benefit from further examination.

Mom was often in emotional turmoil and that frustrated me. In my mid-30s, I saw the futility in trying to change her. I clearly saw a better way to a better relationship that involved nothing more than offering peace, compassion and love. Instead of frustration at what I perceived as her lack, I felt compassion for what I saw she was missing. It changed everything for me.

These days, Mom is sweet, agreeable and eager to please. She tries her best (and does an amazing job) to say the right thing. I realize that what I am seeing is Mom...unplugged. Unplugged from the striving, the distress, the uncertainty that this crappy world can elicit in each of us. Just like the musical artists that perform with acoustic guitars in an intimate setting, this is the best of Mom.


  1. Hi Julie. It's a brutal disease -- one to fear. Dad had it: always knew me even if he didn't know if it was day or night. It's great that there is some positive aspect in this stage of your mother's illness.

  2. Julie,
    I just found out this afternoon that you have a blog. Love it! Love it all, actually. I love the title, the wisdom, the analogy, the honesty. Like I said, all of it.

    That line "Instead of frustration at what I perceived as her lack, I felt compassion for what she was missing." is one I want to add to my list of quotes. I collect them. I have for years. Hope it is okay with you if I do!

  3. Jean,
    Your comment is very kind...thank you. Of course you may add what I said to your list of quotes. What is mine is yours, mi hermana!

  4. Julie, I love this post! You are a writer! And I love the conclusion you came to about your mother--I remember the tumultuous feelings you had about her when we were in high school. I had some issues too, as you know. I came to a similar conclusion about my relationship with my mom. I asked myself, when my dad was sick, before he died, "What do I need from my grown children?" and decided to give that to my mom. I ask her advice, forgive the things she said or did that hurt me and laugh with her at the funny or good memories that we have. When I was a young mother, I thought things needed to come out into the open. I am so glad that Jesus forgives us without requiring that we announce our sins to the world. It's the least we can do for others, isn't it? I'm sorry to hear your mother has Alzheimer's. It sounds like she and you have found a place of peace in a terrible affliction.