I know this is supposed to be about laughing at Alzheimer's, but you will quickly learn that I like to bask in intense feelings all over the spectrum. Even though we can laugh at many of the things that our beloved Alzheimer's patients go through, those chuckles often come out in the middle of other intense feelings.
When dealing with an Alzheimer's diagnosis, there is always anger. It is a normal part of the grieving process. I remember having strong anger, even at the age of 9, when my grandmother died from Alzheimer's. That was very traumatic for me, because I was very close to her. And after she died, it seemed like all I kept hearing was that there were all of these advances in caring for and treating Alzheimer's disease. I just kept thinking, "Where was all of this news before? Why couldn't my grandmother have had access to these medications?"
Flash forward twenty years. My mother started showing signs of Alzheimer's. Only, she was able to camouflage those symptoms in front of many of the medical professionals. We were always told that we were wrong. There was nothing wrong. I got angry at doctors who were ignoring my pleas to help my mother.
My own mother started showing some anger. She knew what was happening to her, only she didn't want to accept it. She watched her mother and brother battle the disease, and had always feared she would eventually succumb to it. She often yelled at us when we tried to tell her something that she had forgotten. We tried to apologize for having to tell her more than once, but it didn't work. I tried really hard to separate myself from the situation, but it still hurt. And I was angry that she was angry.
Insert semi-funny story: My mother had stopped driving over a year ago. It was getting ridiculous to pay for two cars and two insurance policies, when only one car was being driven. So, she and my father traded in both older cars for one newer van. I came home for vacation, and all I kept hearing was that the car had been stolen. It didn't matter how much we tried to explain it to her. She just couldn't remember trading it in.
Move on to acceptance.
As much as it has pained me to watch my mother's decline, I have had no choice but to take it for what it is. Granted, I live a few hundred miles away and it is easier to accept from afar. When people at work ask me about it, I just keep repeating my mantra, "It is what it is." And I have to choose how I handle it.
I'm not going to lie: I have cried through writing this post. I will probably cry through writing many posts. That is what I do and how I deal. And then, I move on and accept. I can't change what is happening to my mother. But, I can control how I respond to it.
I mourn her loss every day. I almost wish she were dead, because that would be easier to accept right now than what is facing her. And again, I choose to laugh in spite of it.