What makes one give up?

With my dad, Alzheimer’s robbed him of the will to fight back. I watched my dad pitifully try to hang on to his personality, only to return a few months later and see a drugged-up zombie in his place. It was heartbreaking, but I’m not sure if those with dementia realize when they are crossing over to the dark side, so to speak.

With my mom, her personality has survived the major surgery, the setbacks and the recovery, and even the nursing home stay. But I know that Mom often puts on a cheery front for the medical staff. They all compliment her on what a great patient she is. And that is true, she’s very good about following orders and not complaining.

But with me, the tears come readily.

I went to visit her local bank the other day to let the manager know about Mom. The manager had helped my mom with a lot of financial issues, and she was sad to hear about Mom. She said that she wondered if at some point, my mom would just give up. “She misses your dad so much, and she’s so lonely.”

Mom already tells me just about every day about how sorry she is for being such a burden and that it would be better if she just let go.

And the honest truth is, it might be.

But then again, the nurse that tended to my mom through a special procedure today said she can tell what kind of spirits patients have just by working with them for a few minutes. She said, “I can tell your mom is a great person.”

And that’s the honest truth as well.

So that makes things really tricky. I don’t want my good-hearted mom to suffer needlessly, but the world could use a bit of her sweet spirit for as long as possible.

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