I watched the Oscar’s last night, and bawled like a baby.
I usually don’t cry at awards shows.
Typically I watch to make fun of the outfits and drool over the luscious men.
Last night was different.
Julianne Moore was up for and won for her portrayal of a woman with Early Onset Alzheimer’s. I haven’t seen the movie. Right now it would just be too tough to watch.
Glen Campbell recorded a song written about his life with Alzheimer’s. I wish it had won.
I cried during both Ms Moore’s speech and during Tim McGraw’s performance of I’m Not Gonna Miss You.
I was thinking about how true the words to Mr Campbell’s song are. While the person suffering from any of the many, many dementia’s is suffering, at some point they no longer realize they aren’t who they used to be. Early on, they know, and it torments them. Just watch clips of Still Alice.
But at some point in this horrid disease, they no longer remember. They no longer realize that real life isn’t the movie reel that is playing inside their head. The voices they hear, aren’t real, the people the see aren’t real. Maybe at some time, in some long ago era they were, but now, here, in reality they no longer exist.
The patient no longer recognizes the faces that are real, the ones that are caring for them, making sure their needs are met, and that they are safe. They feel the love. They recognize the love. But that’s it.
When mom reached the point where she could no longer communicate verbally, she still communicated with her eyes. I could tell when she was scared, when she was in pain, when she was sad, and I could see her love for those around her just by looking in her eyes.
There was one time, mom wasn’t able to communicate verbally, she couldn’t string together words, and someone called for her. My sister in law, put the phone up to my mother’s ear, and the person started speaking. Mom’s entire body stiffened up, she jerked her head and started moaning as if in great pain. It took a long time afterwards for us to get her calmed down. The hospice nurse was there and actually had to sedate her to settle her down. We don’t know why she reacted that way, but she did.
She may not have been able to verbalize her feelings, but she made it clear how she felt about that person. And she let us know that while she wasn’t able to talk to us, she was still in there, she could hear, she could feel, she was there.
So often we ignore those with deficiencies.
That day my mom taught me yet one more lesson.
She taught me to look beyond the obvious, and see the deep down.
Believe it or not, that wasn’t her last lesson to me.
Even on her deathbed, she was still teaching me, and preparing me for my future.