Why can't I stand to write the words that my mother has Alzheimer's? I have a regular blog, a more-read blog, and I haven't uttered a peep about this. I don't know what to say about this. But here I'm going to talk.
Of course, I'm amazed by so much. I'm amazed that I'm fifty and I have a mother at all. That is very good. Who has a mother at fifty, after all? I didn't even have a father at fifteen so I know this well.
But it's scary to sit next to someone I've known for, yes, fifty years and watch her struggle for a word. To know that some memories are slipping away - not too badly yet. She's mostly still herself. But there it is. It's Alzheimer's and it's going to get worse.
And I know that, ironically, the memories that seem to be leaving are her Holocaust experiences. What a mixed blessing, to have something that tormented her day and night since age eleven to be slowly erased from her mind. She's already forgotten post-War Germany, the name of her DP camp. What's next?
Alzheimer's is like a microcosm of mortality, all in one person. You know it's going to get bad, you know it's going to kill them, but you don't know when, you don't know how bad or how quickly. I know intellectually that, if she lives long enough, she won't recognize me, but how am I supposed to wrap my head around that? My mother, a woman who's been defined by being the mother of seven sisters, won't recognize us?