Dark Angel

9 thoughts on “Dark Angel”

  1. Wow, I’ve heard taking care of someone with Alzheimers is rough, but I didn’t know how tough. I’m sure what you mentioned were just a small part of the things you’ve had to deal with! Who is Marlene to you? I didn’t see that part. My dad has been getting worse and worse, he’s only 73, but can’t remember things. I borrowed some money recently, and will pay him back next month, he called telling me my sister had taken some money and his wife is on a rampage. Yes, his wife is on a rampage, but it wasn’t my sister that had ‘taken’ some money, it was me that had ‘borrowed’ some money. I hate very much to see the decline of a man that was such a powerhouse in my lifetime. He was the strongest, smartest, most handsome man that could beat of any of my friend’s dad. I’m glad non of their dad’s ever got told that, my dad would’ve been in lots of fights back then. My hero is now old, and in need of a hero. I’m living with someone right now, myself, at least until I get through college and get on my feet again. I can’t take care of my dad until then, so I feel so guilty that I’m not there to make sure my dad has eaten when he forgot to have breakfast, and take his pills that he thinks are killing him. You are a tough person being able to take care of someone that isn’t your family. I don’t believe in saints, but I do believe in angels, you are Marlene’s angel, and her hero.

    1. Thank you for the kind words. Marlene is a friend that I’ve known since I was 10 (she and my mom were friends, but she has been like an aunt to me). It is so difficult to watch those we love and admire become diminished. I have watched loved ones suffer (and die) from cancer, but this disease just seems more insidious somehow. Whether you are there in the day-to-day, or not, guilt seems a part of the caregiver’s lot. I am attending a workshop that is offering great advice on how to continue to take care of ourselves whilst caregiving. It is not an easy juggling act. Be kind to yourself and know that you are doing the best you can.

      1. You are a great person. There has to be a special place in Heaven for caregivers like yourself. To give selflessly, especially to someone that isn’t blood related, is the most selfless act – besides actually dying for someone – that I can think of. On Marlene’s behalf, and her family that isn’t doing their duty, thank you. Thank you for being the kind of person that is hard to find, someone that gives more of themselves than they thought possible, and for loving unconditionally.

        Thank you so very much for sharing your story.

        Marsha Lynne

  2. Oh, my dear. How the how?! That is exhausting. Too much (but beautifully written somehow, nonetheless). So from someone who lived with a real bang-up caregiver throughout my childhood may I please prescribe something I wish people had prescribed for her? You time. Just you. To make art, write more, go for a walk in silence. Also, the permission to walk away sometimes. Just walk away. Because you are filled with so much light and generous beauty that you’ll be back. But you need to allow yourself the chance to refuel for you. For real.

    1. Sage words, dear Jen. I am two weeks into a six-week class on self-care tools for caregivers. I did get most of the studio cleaned up over the course of two days worth of Harry Potter movies (which she LOVES) and plan on finishing the rest this weekend. AND I am looking for the “right” respite care facility so I can take a real day off, not one fueled by wizards in the adjacent room. Alas, I have to work too (from home, which is good/bad), so it’s all a bit challenging. I have promised my daughter that I will give up if my health truly takes a nose dive–although I don’t give up easily. In the meantime, I am gathering tools for the long haul so I don’t lose my mind while she continues to lose hers.

  3. “Be not forgetful to entertain strangers for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.” Hebrews 13:2
    Linda, your post reminded me of this verse in the Bible. It is directed at us as an admonition to practice hospitality.
    You, my dear are practicing hospitality at its highest level – taking a friend into your home and caring for her as if she were a member of your own family.’ I see you in this circumstance being both the caretaker and the angel! And an angel of light – not darkness! Unfortunately, your friend does not have the mental capicity to seen you as such – but thank God for people like you in this world! What a despicable family she has! I can’t imagine treating your own mother in such ways. 😦
    As, I mentioned before my mother had Alzheimers. It is a terrible disease both for the person it befalls, and for their loved ones. We were quite fortunate though, as my mother was completely compliant and happy to do whatever we suggested. Much like an agreeable child. So that made things easier for all of us and actually made many activities quite enjoyable. I also was never her full time caregiver – my father was still alive and he insisted on caring for her himself so I only had glimpses of what life must be like for you.
    So often acting in integrity and love seem to require so much more of us that we are able to humanly give and stretch us far beyond our limits. I am grateful that you are getting help now – sooner rather than later – on ways to care for YOURSELF in the midst of caring for Marlene. Please don’t hesitate to call in outside help whenever that is needed – in whatever form that looks like – if you don’t – you will most certainly burn out – and I for one don’t want to see that happen.
    I agree with your daughter – you are indeed an angel of the highest rank and order!
    P.S. I just realized I didn’t comment on your post directly but responded to the content. Another beautifully written post, which touched my heart in so many ways. You are not only generous, but talented! Thank you!
    PSS – I have recently heard somewhere about the power of music to calm and help Alzheimer’s patients – perhaps that is something you can add to your repertoire of activities for Marlene.

    1. Oh, Terry! Thank you for the kind words. Last night was especially tough and this is like a salve to my wounds. She was responding to music in the beginning as I played the music of her youth. As she gets more combative, she asks for quiet in the car. Sadly, TV is her best solace (and the one thing I was trying to avoid as a “babysitter”). She basically argues with EVERYTHING I say. I am glad your mother was compliant. On the “good” days, it is pleasant. She has already forgotten the anger she felt toward her son a week ago (and the thievery and neglect) and is talking about going back as she negates the reminders of just how unhappy she was living there. I realize that she isn’t going to be happy anywhere because she is so unhappy with her situation–and truly doesn’t like to be told what to do even when it is in her best interest.

      1. I am so sorry for all you are going through Linda.! This has to be incredibly HARD. Please know you are in my thoughts and prayers as you find the best ways to navigate through all this. If I can be of any help, even as a sounding board please let me know. 🌸

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