Helen O. - My Mother, Ann
Ann, my mother, was the youngest of six children, born in 1917. Her father was a lawyer in Hartord, CT. She married her sweetheart, Bernie, during WWII and they raised four children. Ann became an English teacher and taught high school English classes, specializing in Shakespeare. She retired at 62, when she began the long ride to insanity with Alzheimer's disease. My father was her caregiver for a decade. He was devoted to her, but his health began to fail with kidney and heart disease, so he finally asked for help from his children. I, the youngest, was most able to step in and with loving support from my husband, siblings and children, I oversaw Ann's care until her death in 2000. We all suffered for 20 years. She died at home, but was in and out of rest homes trying to get her medications stabilized. She was a frantic patient dreading what was happening as her brain was seized by Alzheimer's. She eventually knew no one by name and was unable to interact with her beloved husband and grandchildren. It was heartbreak all around to be denied Ann's beautiful mind and spirit in her final years.