When I write a novel, I do quite a bit of pre-writing on character sketches. Some writers focus on plots, but I believe that if you really know your characters, they will write the book through you. So lately I’ve wondered, how is Jacob doing these days? How is he dealing with his mom’s Alzheimer’s and the affect it has on him? Below is his answer.
Mom is sleeping now so these quiet moments give me time to write a few thoughts. The facilitator of our Alzheimer’s support group said it was helpful to journal about our feelings.
At first, I had a hard time writing about it. I hate this disease that is taking my mother away from me, piece by piece. In fact, my first journal entry only included the words “I hate Alzheimer’s” – plastered on the page about 50 times.
But gradually, since Chris, Jess and I have been attending the support group, it’s become easier for me to write about it. Jess say I’m becoming more “open,” whatever that means.
I still can’t believe this horrible thing has happened to my mom. She spent her life helping others yet now, she can’t help herself. Today, she’s having trouble even focusing on the chapter in the Bible she tried to read.
As a devoted mom, she never forgot about me in the process of serving her church and community. She cleared her schedule to attend my ballgames and several times, I heard her yelling encouragements to me from the bleachers.
“Atta’ boy, Jacob. Nice catch. Way to go.”
One time, she forgot her title was Reverend, and she yelled at the ump. To be fair, he made a bad call, but he was slightly blinded by the dirt that flew up when my buddy, Tommy, slid into third base.
Mom hollered, “Are you nuts, Ump? He was safe by a mile. Go get your eyes checked – now!”
She did apologize after the game, and the ump tipped his hat toward her. He was either being nice about it or recognized her as Reverend G and gave her some grace.
Even now, I can hear Mom’s voice, although she hasn’t spoken clearly to us for several days.
“Expressive aphasia,” the speech therapist calls it.
“Exasperating,” is how I label it.
I can predict when Mom tries to communicate. Her forehead scrunches up and she fiddles with her long white braid. Sometimes a clear word or two slips out, but usually it’s a nonsense type of sentence. Then when we can’t understand her, Mom gets frustrated. One time last week, she threw a coffee cup across the room. It must be so terrible to want to speak and not be able to connect with anybody else in the room.
Mom just opened one eye and peered at me. She tried to say something, but quit when only a squeak came out.
Instead she reached out her hand to me and I held it in my own. She has tiny hands and now, she’s lost so much weight, I can see almost every vein.
But I’ll sit here as long as I can, until she falls asleep again. I’ll wait and hold her hand, because I know a day will come when she’ll no longer reach for me.
I hate Alzheimer’s.
©2014 RJ Thesman – “The Unraveling of Reverend G” – http://amzn.to/11QATC1