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Holiday Stress When Your Family Doesn't Know You

My mom has Alzheimer's and she's my last living relative from my childhood. Right here at Christmas time, we've had to make the decision to see her less because our visits agitate her and make her mood difficult for her caregivers. They are the ones who spend the most time with her and in fairness to them, we need to think of them first. Selfishly and out of obligation I feel I should be there. But let's face it, she doesn't know me other than facial recognition and something about seeing me seems to set her off now. That's hard. This is my mama.

We had a rough time of it in my youth. We weren't close and I didn't much like being around her. God opened my heart when she was diagnosed with Alzheimer. Without even thinking about it, I knew I was meant to care for her. I brought her into our home and my husband and I cared for her for more than 2 years. IT WAS HARD. But I found a love for her I didn't know I could have. God gave me a relationship with my mom right at the end of her life. I'm so grateful.

That's how I deal with the hard. I look for the things to be grateful for. I look for the good times. I thank God for opportunity to grow and I have respect and gratitude for the pain because they make me stronger and gentler in the same ways.

This is my message to you. Losing a parent or loved one to memory loss is so painful. But sometimes the more painful part was the old memories. The new painful part can be healed with love, gratitude and LOTS OF PRAYER.

I don't know if this will help you but this is my experience and while I feel sadness from time to time, I also know that we'll be together again and in that place, she'll know me.

Much love to you all this holiday season.

Leigh Ann

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