26 April 2009

Mother-Daughter Relationship in the World of Alzheimer's

When I came out as a lesbian 15 years ago, my parents had a very hard time with it. Over the course of several years, though, they transitioned from being resistant to supportive to celebratory--then, to activists. My mom, Arlene Evans, helped found a chapter of PFLAG in her very conservative small town several years ago.

In addition to being an advocate for the queer community, my mom is a writer. It's hard to know when I say my mom is a writer what verb tense to use: is? was? Because now she has Alzheimer's and can write only short sentences, most of which are riddled with misspellings. And she knows it. She's very aware of what she is losing, has lost.

Her abilities have been sliding away fast. Not quite two years ago when she was diagnosed, she was able to write about the experience in a journal. Recently she gave me that journal and told me she'd like me to share her story with others.

In conjunction with working on a memoir about caregiving (involving the long illness and death of my father, followed by my mother's diagnosis), I've been sharing excerpts of my mom's journals on my blog.

Here is the first entry.

Here is the second.

Mom always supported my writing. I'm grateful to be able to return the favor.