Sunday, September 9, 2012

This Is The Way We Fold the...

Life with a mom with Alzheimer's is a journey.  It's different than anything I can explain.  It is one of those things that you really do have to live to understand. 

And even then, we don't always get it. 

Alzheimer's changes the dynamic of everything we consider normal. 
Eating, talking, watching TV, bathing.  Sleeping or not.

So, her being up and dressed at 3am Thursday morning wasn't surprising.  The call, letting us know she had fallen and broken her hip, that was.

Surgery was a must- but at 90 is also pretty scary. 

And, we aren't about to leave her alone so we've been happy to spend the last four days at the hospital with her.

As is common with the disease, the longer she is there, out of her normal environment, the more of the disease we see. Add intense pain from the surgery and fall, pain meds, complete strangers rotating in and out of the room- sticking and poking her, weird noises and smells- all adds up to some pretty long days and longer nights.

And I knew last night when I looked at her eyes and she wasn't there that it would be a long night. 
And it was. 
She didn't sleep. 
She worked. 
Folded sheets. 
For nearly 12 hours. 

It was amazing to watch.  "They're so heavy" she'd say. 

Every so often, she'd remind me I needed to go get quilts off the couch and make my bed, because I had been working so hard. 
She'd tell me to get something to eat out of the kitchen.

She did not know I was Robin. 
The daughter-in-law who adores her. 

And since I was apparently one of those people, she was polite when I'd tell her to leave her oxygen alone, not to pull at her IV, encourage her not to pull at her staples, or remind her again what the funny boots on her feet were.

But,  every once in a while she'd put down the sheets and look for my hand.  And I'd let her find it.  And I'd hold hers. And she'd settle for just a minute, before starting to fold again.

When asked, she told the nurses she was in her closet, putting away her laundry. "There's so much" she'd say.  

I certainly can identify with that :)  

So I folded with her. 
Sort of.
I'd hand her a towel which is easier to manage than the heavy blankets and she'd fold it and give it back to me.  I'd shake it out and hand it back.  She was content with that for about 25 folds.  She'd hold it up and ask, "isn't it beautiful"?

I watched.
And wondered. 

And sleepy as I was, treasured each fold and every minute because I know this journey isn't over and we don't know where it will lead.  Wherever that is, I'm pretty sure there will be lots of folding along the way.

We're praying for her continued healing- she is strong, and brave and doing well.
And selfishly asking for extra strength for the journey.

Happy Sunday y'all.



  1. This is a beautiful tribute....prayers for you my friend:)

  2. Robin and Rex.
    Charlie and I took that same journey with his mother. Alzheimer's is a terrible, terrible disease that is so much harder on loved ones than the person suffering. Charlie's mama also fell and broke her hip. She actually recovered more quickly than expected because she would move alot forgetting that she had broken her hip. We were told that things that meant a great deal to the person would "visit" more often than others. We found that with hymns and scripture with Bibby. She forgot how to put food on a fork but could recite scripture as if she were reading it. Hearing about Rex's mama folding the sheets reminded me so much of things Bibby would do. Obviously his mama cared greatly about keeping her house just so, with her making sure her linens were folded and people were fed. I am sending you all much love and remembering you each day with many prayers. God helped us get through that journey. When Charlie's mother did pass, Charlie made the comment that he had lost her long before she died. I worried that he couldn't grieve because he had for so long. At her funeral one of his childhood teacher's came to the visitation and walked toward Charlie. This little woman was teeny,tiny around 90 but her presence filled the room. She greeted Charlie with this, "Why Charles, what a glorious day, your Mother's with the Lord." This wonderful women helped my husband to mourn his mother the one that was whole again and with The Lord.


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