I had steeled myself as to what my mother would look like. Three years ago, she was able sit up on her own and shuffle along, sometimes without using the wheelchair for balance and support. At that time, she was just starting to lose the sparkle in her eyes, and her skin was still quite beautiful for her age. She also slept in her own bed in the bedroom. The person I saw yesterday was a frail, elfin caricature of the former world beater who once was my mothers Alzheimer’s has robbed my mother of most of her functions, although she can still breathe on her unaided. She is bedridden now- unable to walk even just one step. Her circulation is almost nonexistent, so her arms and face become bloated with pooled blood. Yesterday her tiny right hand was blue and cold. Her teeth are now dark grey to black. Her weight is less than one hundred pounds. My mother’s trademark blond hair is now slate grey. The nurses put on a little lipstick, and some dye for her eyebrows because she always made sure she was properly dressed and presentable. I was there for one long hour and at that time, she opened her eyes a few times, she never recognized me or recalled being a mother. My mother eyes had always had either a sparkle or fire, now they are devoid of any life and that is quite disconcerting to look at her. I had a new thought this morning about euthanasia. Something like this has never occurred to me. I’m not suggesting her life should be terminated; rather that she hasn’t any viable life. She is spoon fed mush and then urged to swallow the food or drink, she lies in a hospital bed in her living room. This is not how I want to remember my mother; I’ll try to hold fast to the other memories I have of her, laughing, dancing making meals for a hundred or two hundred people at a time. I suppose there is grim humor and to me this is the following; when my mother was healthy, she bought her clothes in the finest shops in the world, and now the nurse goes to Wal-Mart to buy her clothing. Alzheimer’s has stolen my mother’s core existence.
What an inglorious ending of her life.