Guest Blogger Thea Atkinson: Alzheimer’s

Thea Atkinson is on a Blog Streak! I’m proud to be her first stop! You can catch her stop tomorrow at Linda Prather’s blog!

Anna’s heart pumped, paused, and when it beat again her children were all grown. She moved into a smaller apartment and watched stray cats forage for food scraps. She worked on her needlepoint and tried to find ways to keep herself occupied.

People moved in, they moved out; neighbors borrowed dishes, and now that Anna had extra money, she could lend spare bowls without worrying they would never return. She bought a new bedroom suite set; it was pure white with gold trim and fancy brass fittings. Every time someone came to visit, perhaps once a week, and usually Dorothy, Anna went on about that set.

“You have to see my new furniture.”

Dorothy would nod and exclaim how beautiful the headboard looked.

It was all very exciting.

One afternoon, Dorothy brought a visitor. Because Anna didn’t sleep in her new bed–she might ruin it–she knew the bedroom was perfectly immaculate.

“You should see my new bedroom set. It’s absolutely beautiful.” Anna offered the gentleman a tea cup and awaited his response.

Dorothy spoke for the man instead. “It really is.”

The gentleman stared. He accepted the cup but said nothing.

Anna tried again. “It’s the most beautiful furniture I’ve ever seen.”

This time, Dorothy spoke to the man. “Mama is very proud of it.”

Anna might have just been an old woman, but she wasn’t stupid. She poured Dorothy’s visitor a full cup of steaming tea–too much to allow for milk–and shut up.

The visit didn’t continue quite so well. They spoke of everyday things, normal things, things that went on outside, in the normal life that Anna wasn’t part of anymore. They spoke of a new home where she would be comfortable—with people she didn’t know but would enjoy spending time with.

When her visitors left, she sat on her couch. She took up her needlepoint but couldn’t sew a stitch. It seemed she had no focus. No purpose.

Her heart pumped, it paused. But she never regained her focus.

Check out more of Thea Atkinson’s writing tomorrow, April 2, at Linda Prather’s blog!

7 thoughts on “Guest Blogger Thea Atkinson: Alzheimer’s

  1. It’s hard to imagine what goes on in the mind of someone who we say is losing it. Very touching piece, Thea. My Mom died of Alzheimer’s 10 years ago. That’s why I’m donating the proceeds of Four Years from Home to the Alzheimer’s Association and doing the memory walk with my family this year. One of the last things I remember my Mom saying after Dad had to take her to a nursing home because we were simply unable to care for her any longer was, “Please don’t leave me here.”

  2. Larry:

    I’m so glad you travelled through and read it. This flash was based on my grandmother who died of Alzheimer’s. I have a ton of stories about my nanny. She was an interesting character to say the least.

    “Please don’t leave me here,” what a heartbreaking line to remember. very touching tale, Larry.

    good luck with the proceeds from Four Years from Home.

  3. My mom went to a long term care facility in January after living with me for almost 6 years. I am waiting for the phone call that there is a bed available for my father as I am getting tired and warn out. Both of them have Alzheimers as did my mothers mother…I hope that fate does not hold the same plan for me – I wouldnt want to put my family thru this. I have no regrets that I chose to take care of them but the time has come for me to have a life once again and for them to be together in the nursing home. I know the day the call comes I will probably have a major emotional melt down – I am daddy’s girl and always have been – even when he goes into the nursing home – I will still be that.

  4. Nancey:

    that too is heartbreaking. It’s a disease that is so affecting, especially after knowing such vibrant souls. My prayers go out to you that you can hold up some strength. I’m a daddy’s girl too, so I understand that sense of loss.

    don’t forget the caregiver needs care.


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