Friday, November 11, 2005

Broken memories… broken hearts

I made a discovery this week that breaks my heart.

My sweet mother-in-law has not only forgotten who I am… she has forgotten a large portion of her 77 years of life. I hate Alzheimer's.

Earlier this week we had a moment of grace when she knew who I was and actually introduced me to someone. That happens rarely, if at all, anymore.

Last night I realized that she currently thinks of “home” as a place she lived in many years ago… in Pontiac, Michigan, where my husband was born, and where they last lived in 1957.

Till now, "home" has been San Diego, California.

Home to her has moved from that lovely place in San Diego. Now, “home” to her is Pontiac, Michigan and more specifically a home that they lived in when my 55-year-old husband was a 3-year-old boy.

I don’t think she even knows she is in Washington now.

She has lost 48 years of her life and memory… and my heart is broken for her.

My husband tells me that this is harder on us than on her. And I know he is right, even though his heart aches, too.

It does not matter that this is harder on us than her. My heart still breaks for her.

I truly am grateful she still remembers her husband of 57 years.

I truly am grateful she remembers her children. (ages 55 and 53)

I truly am grateful for the moments she remembers me, her daughter-in-law of 19 years.

And yet…

… my heart breaks for the person she was…

… and the losses in relationships…

… and most importantly, what an indicator of a big decline this is in her life.

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