PLEASE NOTE: Even though this blog is now dormant there are many useful, insightful posts. Scroll back from the end or forward from the beginning. Also, check out my writer's blog. Periodically I will add posts here if they provide additional information about living well with Dementia / Alzheimer's Disease.

Sunday, March 2, 2014


Earlier today at Lieberman, Barbara died. I do not remember what she looked like but I did notice her empty place at the table just behind Gregory's. She had stopped eating some three days earlier.

And I heard that Marie was probably on her way out as well. I do remember what she looked like. She sat at the other end of Gregory's table, or better said, was brought into the dining room and placed at the end of the table.

In stark contrast to the other active, somewhat responsive people at the table (Greg, Betty, Julie, and Fred,) she spent her time in the dining room asleep, waiting to be fed, crumpled into a fetal position in her tipped back wheel chair/bed. At times she would be staring off into the distance but never responded to a "Hello" or "How are you today?" Her world was mostly limited and internal.

On earlier days, I remember looking at her and even in her disheveled condition; imagining the loving, sophisticated woman she used to be. But no more.

After kissing Gregory goodnight and on my way towards the elevator, a nurse was headed to Marie's room where family had been sitting with her all day. I asked the other nurse who was just outside the room how Marie was doing and she told me that Marie had just passed.

No matter how "far gone" some of these residents may be, or how angry and non-communicative, I cannot walk by a fellow human being in the hall and not smile real big and nod my head or say, "Hello." In turn, over time, some of the residents regularly now smile at me and say hello.

When in the dining room and someone needs help, if I know how to help without getting in the way and for example only if I know what to do, like getting thickened juice for someone who needs it to be thickened so they will not choke when drinking, I have to help. When Freddy is upset and cursing, I hold his hand and he holds my hand back and settles down.

My love for Gregory continues to grow, my expectations for him now are in the present moment and mostly in line with his abilities and not my hopes and fears for the future, and my love of fellow humanity continues to be tested and stretched. There is such great love and beauty to be experienced at Lieberman.

I grief and am also grateful for Barbara's and Marie's deaths.

1 comment:

  1. I remember the woman at the end of the table too, the one wrapped into that fetal position, the uncommunicative one. I remember thinking how small she was making herself, wondering if she made herself any smaller that she would just disappear. And now it appears she has.

    May she rest in peace.


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