Thank you Mom and Dad

My Mom and Dad with me after I finished my first 1/2 marathon in San Francisco. They drove from NC to SF to be there for me. Oct 2009.

My Mom and Dad with me after I finished my first 1/2 marathon in San Francisco. They drove from NC to SF to be there for me. Oct 2009.

I am so blessed. Even while going through the most difficult time in my life, I cannot help but feel a tremendous sense of indelible love and support. I have friends that seem to rally to my rescue when needed. Sometimes when I am not even aware that it is needed. I have two children that show me true and unconditional love. They forgive me for all of my faults as a Mom, a Wife and a Caretaker. And I have my parents. I realize that at the age of 44, I am fortunate to still have both of my parents with me. I am doubly fortunate to have both of my parents not only a few hours away, but of the mindset they will do whatever they can to help me, the kids and Jim out. They will re-arrange their schedule, they will listen, they will cry, they will listen, they will read about this horrific disease to understand better, they will offer guidance, they will come to help out and they will listen some more.

I am headed out early in the morning to be part of the Annual Conference of the American Society on Aging in San Diego. I was asked to participate as a Younger Onset Alzheimer’s caretaker. I will be speaking out for all of us going through this yucky mess and letting others know what we need to keep our heads not just above water, but our whole body as well. I take this very seriously and I realize that I have a lot of families to speak out for and a lot of different stories to meld together. I will do my best for everyone that is needing their voices heard.

But I wouldn’t be able to leave my home, my kids and Jim without knowing they would all be ok. Along comes my Mom and Dad to the rescue. As soon as I asked them if they could come help out so I could go to the conference, there was no hesitation. “Yes. We would be more than happy to watch the kids.” One less thing for me to worry about.

I know I will not have them both with me forever. It crushes me to think about the day when I will have to tell them “goodbye”. I don’t know if I can. Not anytime soon. I rely on them so much for support. Who else REALLY wants to hear every last detail about my kids? Who else REALLY wants to hear over and over again about my unfolding tragedy?  Dealing with Alzheimer’s Disease, I hear so many stories and heartbreak from children taking care of and losing their parents. When I put myself in those shoes,  tears spring up and I am again immensely grateful that I can pick up the phone and speak to my Mom and Dad. There is an acute awareness that each day I grow older so do they.

Our relationship wasn’t always so close or so good. We were close until I was about 12 or 13 and then we became close again in my mid twenties. I regret those years in between. We all must grow and learn but why must we always hurt our parents and lose precious time with them in the process? We still don’t always see eye to eye 100% of the time. I know they bite their tongues and I am sure there are plenty of discussions about what I should or shouldn’t do or have done.  But there is an underlying rule of always being there for each other and making sure we  know how much we are loved and cared about.

When people tell me now how strong I am or how brave I am or how great it is that I share our story, I hope they know they are really complimenting my parents. There is absolutely no way I would even be close to the person I am today without them. I am able to write this blog, advocate, speak out and move forward only because I have my two biggest fans quietly pushing me from behind. Just as they have done my whole life.

Yes, I am so very, very blessed.

posted by Karen in Early Stages of Alzheimer's Disease,Younger Onset Alzheimer's Disease and have Comments (6)

6 Responses to “Thank you Mom and Dad”

  1. Allan Schur says:

    Karen, About the time children become teenagers very many (almost all) parents, the ones who seemed to know EVERYTHING for so long, almost overnight go through something like a lobotomy. They just flat lose the capability to think clearly. Fortunately, somewhere after their children’s 20th birthday, they gradually, VERY gradually, regain their ability and their children who have become adults by now, find that the intelligence has returned and has even increased! Your parents went through the transition…… and you will too!!

  2. Laura jones says:

    Roll on Karen. We are making progress in this fight. Thank you for the time and effort you and your a family give to help end this nightmare. See you in a couple weeks in DC. HUGS. LJ

  3. Jill says:

    Karen your parents are doing exactly what they want to do for their daughter who is struggling with similar emotions about Jim. And in Jim’s heart I know he loves them (your parents) and that they are there for the both of you both mentally and physical. Parents are angels on earth when their children need help regardless of age.
    God bless you all.

  4. Wendy says:

    I lost my mom only 4 days ago after a long battle with vascular dementia. She was 87 and was my best friend, and had been since I lost my dad 27 years ago…our parents are our best and most fervent cheerleaders. Best of luck to you at the conference. You will be great!

  5. Maureen says:

    Good Bless You and thank you for representing us on this mission that will bring us new hope! xoxoxo Maureen

  6. Shirley says:

    Thanks again Karen for speaking my heart! I don’t know where I would be today without my parents to help me through! They always seems to be there when I need to fall apart, there to help with issues that need to be fixed, or there to give me wisdom when I can’t find any of my own!!! God bless the supportive parents of us walkin through the valley of alzheimer’s as caregivers of younger onset spouses!

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