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Archive for April 27th, 2012

This is another post in a series, about a woman named Amara. Every Friday I will post another segment in this story.

When Dr. Lewis left Joy, she started feeling the weight of all that was going on in her life.

Her mother would appear to have just had a stroke, on top of Alzheimers Disease. Her husband would appear to be having an affair with a business colleague.

“I just cannot do this. I do not know where to turn. I have no hope,” Joy said under her breath.

“Momma! Momma! I missed you. Did you miss me?” Jessica’s joyful voice echoed in the hospital hallway. Everything within Joy was so out of energy to give, that she really had nothing left to offer her little girl. She felt lower than she ever remembered feeling. She had no vision of the future, and could not imagine things getting worse. She was hopeless.

Then, as Jessica’s arms wrapped tightly around her mother’s neck, a feeling of deja vu surrounded Joy. All of a sudden, Joy was in the place of her mother, so many years ago, when she had to deal with the deaths of both of her parents and her son. Joy, for the first time, understood why her mother had not … could not return her little daughter’s embrace. All of a sudden, Joy, for the first time in her life, understood that her mother had not rejected her, but that she had nothing to give her little girl, because she was hopeless.

Joy knew that she had to respond differently to her daughter than her own mother had responded to her. She knew that it would be an act of extraordinary strength, coming from a place within her, that even she did not know existed. Joy forced her arms around her daughter, and held on for dear life. As she held Jessica, and Jessica held her, Jessica’s head lifted, so that she was staring into the closed eyed face of her mother.

“Momma, why are you crying? Are you sad, Momma?”

Joy opened her eyes to see the most beautiful, innocent, loving eyes. As she looked into Jessica’s eyes, she saw the eyes of her mother staring back at her. “Oh Jessica, I just feel so loved by you,” she finally was able to say.

“I have the best Momma in the big, wide wold,” Jessica said, with the pronunciation of a New Englander, as she held on to her mother, even tighter.

“Is it okay for Jilly to go into Amara’s room?” Joe’s voice cut deep into Joy’s heart. Just moments before she was in the midst of the sweetest momma moment with Jessica, but with the sound of Joe’s voice, Joy was reminded of the hurt associated with Joe and the text message she had read on his phone.

“Go with her. Mom may not recognize her” was all Joy could say to Joe.

Joe seemed oblivious to the heartache that Joy was feeling. That was exactly Joy’s intent. The last thing she wanted was to allow tension and stress to take over in front of their daughters.

As they walked to Amara’s room, Joy prayed that her mother would at least recognize Jilly. All of a sudden screaming and yelling, followed by Jilly running out of the room to her mother. Her wide-eyed appearance told Joy that indeed her mother did not recognize her first granddaughter.

“Mom, what is wrong with her? Why did she not know me? What did I do wrong?” Jilly was trembling with fright.

Joy reached out for her daughter, and embraced her, as Jessica moved to allow her big sister to be comforted by their mother.

“Please do not take it personally, Jilly. She has moved into a new stage of Alzheimers and she is confused. I promise that the Nanna you know is still in there somewhere, and she knows and loves you.” They held on to each other, as Joy tried to help Jilly relax, and return to calm.

“Oh Joy, did you get to speak to a doctor this morning? What is going on with your mother?” Joe’s concern was heard as acid to Joy’s ears.

“Jilly, are you okay for me to tell you what the doctor said earlier? Or would you rather not hear until we get home?” Joy asked Jilly in a manner that indicated that she was speaking to her as an adult.

Jilly nodded.

“Dr. Lewis, who was so kind, spoke to me this morning … ” Joy sighed, “after my mother yelled and screamed at me the same way she did at you Jilly. She did not recognize me …”

“Mom, Nanna didn’t know you either?” Jilly asked in wide-eyed amazement.

“No, she didn’t, Jilly, and she was even more terrified by my being in her room.”

“Is that the Alzheimers then?” Joe asked, concerned. His concern was grating on Joy’s nerves. She just wished there was a way that she could tell him to leave … for good.

“Dr. Lewis said that she has had a stroke. They are unsure of the severity of it, but it has affected her speech. The not knowing us is probably related to the Alzheimers, which is unpredictable as to how it will affect her from day to day, and person to person.” Joy was relating all of this information as she held perfect eye contact with Jilly. She was determined to not lose her daughters during this time of struggle.

“The biggest battle is that she also has pneumonia …” Joy began to fade, as her ears, her mind, her heart was re-hearing the doctor’s words.

“That is treatable, right?” Joe’s voice was really causing a rise in blood pressure for Joy. It took a significant amount of self-talk for Joy to not scream at him.

“The doctor said that mother may never go home again,” and then the tears fell like a river down her face, as Jilly held her mother. Joe knelt down on the floor in front of Joy, and wrapped her arms around she and Jilly. Joy’s body tensed immediately. She reached into her pocket, pulled out Joe’s cell phone, and handed it to him, with the text opened for him to read …

“call me, I NEED to talk with you about a ‘business trip’ I am proposing. You owe me big time for leaving just when we were so close 😉 .” Roxanne

As Joe read then bowed his head, Jilly shouted out, “where is Jessica?”

Unfading – Part 1

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