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When The Clock Stands Still: Caring For Mom With Alzheimer’s

Gina Flores
Caregiver Advocate | Shield HealthCare
01/11/13  6:03 PM PST

 Winning story by Evangelina G., Caregiver for her mother with Alzheimer’s disease

Shield HealthCare 12th Annual “What Makes Caregiving Rewarding?” Story Contest | Grand Prize Winner Spotlight

“Hi, my name is Eva and I want to share with you a little about how fulfilling and satisfying it has been to be a full-time caregiver or as I like to call it, a messenger of my mom’s life.

I come from a large family in which my mom in 1968, at a very young age, became widowed. She had to face the harsh realities of life alone and fight tooth and nail against overwhelming odds to be able to raise her 10 children. She, by this point, already had dealt with the loss of one of my siblings.

Suffering through hunger and other adversities, my mom looked for and ultimately found a way to not only raise me and my brothers and sisters but also to give us the solid foundation of education, good morals and a strong sense of cultural appreciation.

My mother was a strong woman, very capable and active. She never quit and hardly ever stopped to rest except for maybe 3 or 4 hours of sleep a day. Her energy seemed to me, to draw from a never ending supply. But she had a purpose.

Today, my mother has fallen victim to the often times, unfair game of life; a life which has left her in an obscure abyss. It has been a little over 15 years that she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. A disease that day by day continues to erode her strong will and never ending source of energy that I saw as a child; every day eating away at her defenses against the adversities of life.

I have given this chapter of her life a more proper name. Not one to be proud of, but one to better understand what my mother’s life is like now. I call this chapter in her life, “When the clock stands still.”

The impact of my mom’s unwelcome medical diagnosis has fractured our lives and has made things seem difficult to live through. You forget about yourself and in fact, your life as a caregiver even seems as if it’s not even fully yours anymore. You are on the job 24/7, 365 days a year.

Yet, the gratification after so much pain is the beautiful smile my mom gives you every morning when she awakes, and every night right before falling asleep. That smile, which has managed to escape the illness, is very telling of the love my mother has received and given. The illness has not robbed my mother of her strong sense of caring after her family either. She still sits with us to pray and to make sure we give thanks for everything we have.

This is what makes me both happy and proud. There are things that are so invaluable in life and often times those are the little moments that our loved ones give us, almost like trophies, day after day. These trophies represent their appreciation for our unconditional love. And I thank God for those gifts.

We, as caregivers, place our lives on hold for a higher purpose. For the care of a loved one faced with seemingly insurmountable challenges. And now, as a messenger of my mom’s life, I’d like to give back by telling her story so that others may share in the love of life that she raised us with.”

Learn more about Alzheimer’s disease at http://www.alz.org/

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