JewBu Quest: From Abuse to Happiness

JewBu: a Jew who practices forms of Buddhist meditation & spirituality. This blog documents my quest to 1) heal from sexual, verbal, and emotional abuse, 2) come to terms with losing Mom and Grandma to Alzheimers, 3) find balance, explore the spiritual, stay present. Bascially, I've experienced some pretty crappy shit in my life and want to find a way to move past it and find happiness.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Memories and Disappearance of Memories

I went last night to a support group for adults whose parents have Alzheimer's through the Alzheimer's Association. We watched this documentary made about a Jewish queer woman whose mother has Alzheimer's, and then had a very short discussion about it and what we're going through. There were only 3 of us there and the moderator, but that's okay. The mother in the movie sounded so much like my grandmother with Alzheimer's, but in her good stage.

One woman in the group kinda soaked up most of the time, and then the leader was encouraging the guy to participate, so I kinda felt left out. But, afterwards, the woman and I ended up standing outside for two hours talking. She could have stayed even longer, and I had to think for awhile about how to end the conversation and get my tired tuchus home. But, it did feel really good to be able to talk about all of this and have someone who could relate.

One thing I learned is that people with dementia go backwards in age. The leader told me that my mom is probably at a 3-4 year old level. My grandmother has the brain functioning of a baby. Also, memories fade by proximity in time - to the younger a memory, the more likely it is to fade. It made me think a lot about how dementia has affected Tante, Grandma and my mom. Tante had memories first of the Holocaust, and then later just thoughts of her mother. Grandma can recongize her sister, but not her children or grandchildren.

Another thing I learned is that people with Alzheimer's lose the ability to think about things, but are able to feel things and pick up on what others are feeling. So, when someone is anxious or sad around them, they'll feel that way too. But, if you look at them with love, they will feel loved. The big lesson of the evening was to not take it all so seriously. If the person messes up with things or can't remember, that's okay. If my mom talks to me as if I am her mother, well then I should engage her with that instead of trying to correct her.

Tomorrow, I'm going out of town for a conference where I have another big talk. I have to sleep in a hotel for the first time since the murders happened, and I'm a bit worried about how I'll sleep and if I'll be up for all of the schmoozing and whatever. I'm tired from another morning of waking up several times and I have a lot of work to do for my research team and haven't even looked at what I'm supposedly presenting on or anything. So there is lot's to do. I'll likely not have internet access at the hotel, so I won't be posting this weekend. But, I'll be back Sunday night.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

K - Best of luck at your conference, maybe getting away for a few days will be refreshing when you return to your beloved home. You have my numbers if you need somebody to chat with/bmw (bitch-moan-whine) to, etc.

BTW, I'm very glad you had such a listening ear last nite. It seems like you just really have the need to be heard and *really* listened to, and it sounds like last nite was really satisfying in that department - and probably theraputic also. I'm glad you are finding a support system.

Thursday, April 20, 2006 1:34:00 PM  
Blogger Karma said...

Thanks! I appreciate your support.

Thursday, April 20, 2006 3:56:00 PM  

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