Thursday, July 19, 2012

A State of Transition...

About 9 months ago,
our family took in my mom, known as Mimi. 
She had been living by herself
in another county with occasional help.
Physically, she could still manage quite well,
even walking and swimming daily.

Her faculties were failing her.
This woman,
who had always been so independent,
so strong, and so very confident
in her chosen role in this world,
was losing the ability to manage and enjoy her life.
She went through the occupation in France,
was a working woman from very young,
and raised a daughter on her own
without any assistance from the government.
She was one tough lady.
But that was all before dementia took over.
I have been taking care of her financial matters for some time,
but we knew that this next step
would be much more consuming.

We knew that the extra responsibility
would be a lot for our family to endure.
Our life with autism has not been an easy one
and there are certainly other family members who are better suited because of circumstances,
to care for a loved one in so much need.
The duty became ours when no one else would step up.
It happens.

Today Mimi is going to be starting a new part of her life
in an assisted-living facility.
It breaks my heart.
I thought I would be the one to take care of her
and help her through the final transition of her life.
It's been such an emotional struggle,
weighing the toll it has taken on our family,
and trying to do right by the one who gave me life.
It's a decision that has been grueling, but necessary.
This afternoon I will be taking her to her new home,
and feeling the pangs of doubt,
like a mom leaving her kid at sleepaway camp.

The good news is that she really likes the place,
and it's close enough that we will be able to visit
often and bring her home for Sunday supper
or special occasions.
The facility has a pool and she is looking forward
to having less noise and more freedom in her life.
I know it's what's best at this time for all of us,
and feel comfort in knowing that she will
be in a safe and stimulating environment.
It's not how we planned it,
but God had something else in mind.

I'm grateful for all of the walks I've shared with my mom
in the past few months.  Those fleeting moments of happiness
with her have been accompanied by the throes of anger, frustration, confusion and extreme sadness. 
Her moods are not hers to control anymore.
And I wouldn't wish this on anyone.
Still, it's important to focus on the aspects of this journey
that have helped me grow spiritually,
and have brought my immediate family closer.
Even in the most difficult of situations,
there is a blessing lying underneath.
Big K and Lil' Guy have been beyond understanding
through it all,
and for that I am SO grateful.
Once again, my boy amazed me with his
abundance of empathy toward his Mimi.
Kids with autism are not supposed to be able to feel empathic.
We hope to take the lessons we've learned
not only to plan for our future,
but to appreciate the here and now
and whatever time we have together.

If you know someone who is a caretaker
for a person with dementia
(or any other debilitating condition),
offer to take them out for coffee or lunch.
Take a walk around the block with them or
find them resources so that they get the support they need.
You can't know how much it will mean to them.

We're all in this together.

For more information on dementia, follow these links:

And if you are so inclined,
please hold a good thought for Mimi.
Much thanks...


  1. The toughest decision to ever make, but dementia is terribly difficult to have to go through. Hugs to ALL of you.

  2. It is a very hard decision to make. Our thoughts go out to you guys and her as you both adjust to your new realities. My grandma went into an assisted care facility and it was the best thing we could have done for her. I know it was very hard both before and during the transition for a couple of my aunts, but I really think that my grandma enjoyed it as much as she was able to at that stage. I hope your mom has a good transition and is better off with the level of constant care they can provide there, and that you get to visit often and see her at her best. Hugs

  3. You have one of the most stressful and tough jobs out there - caretaker. I am so glad that your Mother Wants to go to the facility and should make that part of the transition so much easier. Plus the mental stimulation she will get there will be good for her. It is never easy caring for aged and sick parents and you deserve a huge pat on the back for doing so with caring for your own family at the same time. I hope she loves it there and now maybe you have a little more time to yourself to refresh and get out on that nice little bike :)

  4. About 3 months ago we had to put my inlaws in an assisted living facility..while the transition had it's ups and downs, everyone has adjusted quiet well and they are doing better than they have in years. Stay positive! God's in control.

  5. Hi Daisy...I will definitely hold a good thought for both you and Mimi. It's difficult to see our parents aging since they've always been there to take care of us. I wish you and Mimi all the best and hope the assisted living facility works out well for her. Best wishes!

  6. Bless you and bless your sweet mom. I know that has got to be hard, but yet cannot imagine. Your mom is lucky to have such a caring daughter who has her best interest at heart.

  7. My father did not deal with his final transition and took his own life. We felt very guilty for a long time after but finally came to terms with the truth...taking care of my husband (cancer) and working full-time to support my family was more than I could have handled and my father did a selfish thing.

    Don't ever feel guilty. You are doing the best you can, being the wonder woman that you are, for your family. I am very happy to hear your mom is happy and adjusting well. Take care and God bless!~Ames

  8. New to your blog so possibly I don't have the right to comment on this post....but, I'm going to anyway. First of all, major hugs to you. My Mom passed 2 yrs ago and was cared for at home by 2 of my sisters (Im in the mid west they are in CA) I was home for the last 45 days of her life...and it was the hardest 45 days of my life to date but in others the best. I was able to meet my mother as a child, a young wife, a sad but beautiful all the same. But the mood changes lack of understsand were tough on us all... If she was agreeable, feel no guilt. It was the best for YOUR family and her.

  9. Thanks to one and all for the well wishes and kind words. It really helped me deal with it just knowing that others have gone through it and it all worked out. We aren't out of the woods yet and I still feel very sad, but am trying to press on. I will post an update soon.


Thanks for taking the time to leave your thoughts!