One of the things I like about writing this blog is making connections with other people who are traveling this road. I receive emails often and in a way it's comforting to know that I'm not alone.
About a year ago, a reader emailed me and entitled her email "Your mom is just like mine!" It turns out that her mom was also diagnosed with FTD, the semantic variant. Over our correspondences, we found so many striking similarities of our moms at that time. We've become friends on facebook and although we don't talk often, I often think about her and her mom (as I do with all of the people I've emailed with!) For some reason, I was just thinking of her the other day, in fact, and thought about how I should send her an email to check in and see how her mom was doing. Today, however, my question was answered when I saw her post on facebook that her mom had passed away over the weekend.
I feel an incredible sadness for what this family is going through. I have been feeling a bit melancholy today as this reminds me of what the future holds for my mom and my family. The reality is that there are no survivors of dementia. It is a disease that ravages a person day by day, inch by inch. I don't know how much time we have left with my mom. Some days it feels like she can live another 10 years like this because physically, she is in good health. But then I am reminded that this is a disease of the brain; when the brain dies, eventually the body will catch up. Even though I know what the future holds, I ask myself, am I ready for that? I don't know how to answer. On one hand, I believe in a life after this one, where my mom will be free of her disabilities and pain, a place where we will all be together again. Other days, I don't feel like I am ready to give her that physical good-bye.
Dementia is an emotional roller coaster. There are constantly ups and downs-or should I say downs and even more downs. There isn't really anything "up" about it but I try to be positive in this journey and enjoy the time that I do have left with my mom. Today, I feel sad. I hold back my tears for this friend and her family and for the fate that awaits my own family. I want to wrap my arms around my mom and hug her tight (even though she'll push me away!) because I'll never know when one day might be the last.