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LIFE 102 | Alzheimer's victims need support
Dreams, especially reoccurring ones, are at times alarming. Why do they happen? The theories are too numerous to go into.
Perhaps these are messages or the dreams are scripts written by the subconscious to deal with the frustrations of the everyday conscious situations that arrive in our lives? Whatever the reason they are there my dream was always about my mom, who passed last May. She had been residing for three years in a memory care center. My mom had dementia.
In this dream, she seems lucid and is back to her old self. So I take her home with me. It is not too long after that she starts to recede back into her own world and I know I have to place her again in a facility.
Every time is like the first time the pain and guilt I felt and still feel over and over again. I have spoken to my peers who experienced dreams in similar situations who attribute theirs to guilt.
As a counselor, I once preached that guilt was wasted energy, however, whether we like it or not it is real to many of us. It was very sad to watch my mom slide into an abyss and terrible to watch her struggle to hold on as I believe she knew that her reality was transcending. She fought it until it took over completely. Mom was in another place and I could no longer reach her.
What I witnessed was amazing watching her create a new reality that made her happy.
Each time I went to visit her, I never knew what part I would play that day. Sometimes she knew me as her daughter and at other times I was her mom, sister, or niece.
When I entered that facility I was entering Helen’s world and just to be in her company, see her smile and hold her hand was my fix. One day a few months before her death as I was kissing her goodbye, she grabbed my hand and in a very clear and concise plea she asked me, “Kathy, please do not forget me as I do you at times.” I promised her I would never do that, then she was gone back to Helen’s world.
I no longer have those dreams. I did seek out counseling and it helped to ease my mind. The counselor stated you did not cause her dementia nor could you have cured it — accept it and move on.
There are many support groups in Kitsap County for Alzheimer’s victims and their families. Seek out one that you are comfortable with and get support. It will help you cope.
Kathleen Fuller can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.