My mother lived and survived with Alzheimer’s for more years than any one in the family wants to admit. Many of those years were spent in denial by those that surrounded her. She however, knew something was not quite right. But she could not put her finger on it.
She became very good at hiding her symptoms and some off behavior. But as time passed, it was harder to fool the people she loved and those that loved her. Alzheimer’s took over and I think she gave in to what she could no longer conceal.
Except for a message quietly hidden until this week.
I discovered it during a visit to my father. These trips are difficult because we live halfway across the country from each other. He decided to live alone in the house I grew up in and the house my mother died in, and is 89 years old. He is a remarkable man and my best friend.
This past week I was in the house and discovered a beautiful hidden message inscribed and written by mother. It was clear by her handwriting that this was not a message left years ago but fairly recently in her quiet moments – she passed away in 2011. I was in her bathroom looking for makeup that I leave behind given the new airline restrictions. As I searched the drawer under remnants of cosmetics, in ink was a message scribbled on the bottom of the drawer.
In cursive but clearly readable from LJD, my mother…
Hello to all.
Love to all.
I like to think this was a way for her to reach out in brief moment of clarity. She happened to discover a pen in the drawer that may well have been used to mark her medicines from my father’s. I like to think that her message was left there for me or my father to find. I like to think at the end she wanted to say I am still here and love you, although this disease makes it impossible to say that everyday, so I will leave a note because today I can.
I hope by sharing this that we all will be reminded that it is the disease/Alzheimer’s seeks to destroy people, and that my mother was still there – and your loved one is still there – trapped in a state of confusion and disarray. Her message was simple, to the point and shall be imprinted in my thoughts longer than the makeup in the drawer.
Mother, I love you, too.
Jane Dewoskin Snyder
CEO and Founder
Puzzle with Me