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Catching Tears

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Today her tears ascended like the frozen snowflakes from the gray December sky. Emotions erupt with the Alzheimer's Disease journey. To the caregiver, the tears seem to be shed for any insignificant reason. For the challenged loved one, the tears are real. The reasons are meaningful and important. Today's tears were shed for her momentary realization of her loss of memory. She recited the same question to me over and over again. Every time I answered, a light went off in her cloudy head that reminded her she had already asked me that question.

One year ago, when I was bombarded with her repetitive questions aimed at me like a loaded machine gun, I would explode. My patience was tested over and over. I would make up the excuse that "I was only human" and that's how I would try to explain away my guilt for yelling at her.

Today, as my understanding of this disease grows, I am calmer. I am numb when it comes to the question game. There is no yelling, only answers. The same answers over and over again. I've learn to let my anger and resentment for the disease go. Carrying it doesn't help me and certainly doesn't help her.

Today's tears were soon dried with the swipe of a tissue and my reminder to her that her heart is still beating, she is still living in her beautiful home and she has a daughter who loves and cares for her every day.

I opted to sit with her all day today, only to disappear as I changed loads in the washing machine. I have a tendency to write in the quiet of a secluded back den where I can collect my thoughts in peace, away from her. Instead, I sat beside her and was "entertained" by a "Law and Order" marathon and a slew of repetitive questions as I held her hand and wiped tears.