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Wednesday, November 20, 2013


I somehow came across your blog online and was pleasantly surprised when I opened it and immediately recognized my beautiful hometown of Santa Barbara in your art and online journal. The one and only exquisite Santa Barbara shoreline and the local places I miss and love. I could not stop reading about your beautiful daily experiences and thoughts, the loving way you share your feelings about dear Mama Moss, it touched a special place in my heart. You have a gift, a gift of art with nature, of capturing amazing moments in time, with both your camera and your words, that deserve to be shared. And I thank you for the unexpected smile you have given me. May you continue to be blessed and may you continue to bless us by sharing your unique creativity.
xoxo Angel

I am so sorry to read this; my mother has had dementia for over 10 years and is only 77 years old. I truly hope that perhaps it is something other than Alzheimer's disease with your Mom, as this seems like a very sudden slide. I understand entirely on your own concerns regarding dementia - i share the same, having no siblings and no children, and a great fondness for independence and self-reliance.
From reading your sister's blog, (re: that your Mom move into the memory care area of her assisted living facility), this is also a very hard step for family members to take. I found it best to see it from her perspective and not my own. It turned out to be the best thing for my Mom's happiness; the patient-to-staff ratio is much higher, and they understand. The routines are carefully followed, the folks who live in memory care can be themselves (in all their strange, sad, puzzling ways, and in their joyful ways) in this more sheltered environment. My mother, to my surprise, is much happier as she doesn't worry about what to select to wear, they make sure she comes to meals, she doesn't have to worry about details of life that one has to think about in regular assisted living. Nobody else will truly understand what this experience is like except others who have been down this road - I am so sorry. Sending you all love.

Sorry to hear about your mom. We started dealing with the same thing with my grandfather about 2 1/2 yrs ago. at 94 his dr took his driving privileges away and we started making trips to missouri to help him out as did my aunt. We really saw the dementia then-and saw his decline from aug-nov when they brought in live-in care. that became cost prohibitive and we moved him to Tx where he has more family. We can look back and see it was starting as early as 2008-but since we weren't living there, didn't really see it. It's hard to watch them become confused-but after a certain point it does become easier. You think of them as a different person to some extent. My grandfather has become very mild and agreeable. (some meds contribute to that) where as before, he was a stern, proud,(accept no help) and combative person. He has said for yrs he's going to live to 100 and he just might do that~

Very sorry to hear about Mamma Moss, Mary Ann. I love to hear your stories about her and Carol. She reminds me so much of my own grandmother, who also dealt with dementia and depression in the last years of her life. One thing you may not have thought about - have her doctor make sure she doesn't have a UTI, which can cause symptoms that mimic dementia. My thoughts are with you all. She is lucky to have you and Carol to look after her.

You look so pretty sitting on the beach in your gerry rigged hat. I will definitely check into your dementia blog. It runs in my family big time and I think I am about four years shy of my journey.

This made me sad..taking on water...that is an apt description...it's a horrible dilemma...my mom has the same and it truly is quite dismal. i love seeing the pictures of mamma moss on the blog

So sorry to hear about your mom. Sending you hugs and love.

Been there with my momma. All my love to you and your family.

I too am sorry to hear the news about Mama Moss. I know it's hard for Carol to be the one on the spot looking after her and hard for the rest of you to be far away when you want to be near. Will be thinking of you all, adding my good wishes to those of everyone who has commented here before me.

Buckle up girls. Angie is so very fortunate to have such an able crew on board with her. What you have, that is most important now, is family history. It's quite a trek, but your memories will serve you all well. Courage.

Dear MaryAnn,
It gets better and worse, easier and harder. Even though you prepare it can be so difficult. I have known this was coming; I could see it in Angie's eyes. Enjoy the good times, try to understand the hard/ bad ones, laugh at the funny times and cry when you need to. The Moss kids have a hard road ahead but you can do it.

I'm so sorry. I understand and am there with my own momma. Continue to enjoy your "now", it's the best you can do. Love to you and your family.

hey sweetie,so sorry to hear about your mom...I am sure Carol knows to check in with the Dr, in that sudden appearance of Dementia can be tracked to medications, or even urinary tract infections...one must rule out a physical cause first.
You look so lovely in your scarf , I agree with the aforementioned post, Audrey Hepburn for sure. I am thinking of you bubbelah.

you look like = Audrey Hepburn....love the glasses & scarf....timeless

I am sending you an email about your momma.....my thoughts are with you.

Oh Mama Moss. I'm so sorry to hear that. Would it be comforting to her to know that we are all right behind her, all of humanity steadily marching toward the great unknown? She is not alone. We all have this in common.
Your vacation looks marvelous.

you look so happy in your make-shift sun bonnet. I'm so sorry to hear about Mama Moss because it is so frustrating when they know things are slipping around in their head. my mom, who lived to 6 mos. shy of 99, had to deal with dementia about 9 months prior. we just tried to make sure she felt secure, loved and happy. trying to make her make sense of things was more frustrating and hard on her than us, so the answer was 'go with the flow.'
hugs to you and your family.

It was so much better for ME when my mom no longer realized that she was confused. Of course it is very sad and I would think that I wanted to ask her about some family history only to realize that she was no longer able to answer such questions. However for her, the frustration was gone and that made the situation much better.

My heart goes out to meet your tender heart in this sad and difficult place. no words. xox

She couldn't have better bailers. Best of luck navigating the waters.

thank you everyone for all of your stories and words. i appreciate and i know my sisters will too when they read them. carol is the primary care giver and has been doing it all along these past 10 years. she is actually the one in need of a beach retreat, but since the beach is HERE and not there i am availing myself of its restorative charms. i am going there in december and then she is flying out to palm springs for our annual art retreat in january. good times and sad times on the horizon. cannot have one without the other.

You look gorgeous. The seaside suits you.

Poor mama. My heart goes out to all of you.

I'm so sorry Mary Ann. You've got a lovely community of followers who are all thinking of you as you travel this path with your mother. Be gentle with yourself.

I'm so sorry about your mama... Glad you're having a restorative time away, also that you'll get to spend time with her next month. Love your photos and words, as always. xo

blessings to you dear...your gorgeous photos of the sea convey a serenity which I hope will be given to you as you listen to the wind and waves! I helped care for my grandmother who had dementia. those times were difficult, but a blessing too. Marcia (above) is so right. My mom needed help to care for Grandma and I got the privilege. it is exhausting for the primary care giver...you seem to have a great relationship with your family so I hope you'll 'circle the wagons' and work together to do what is best. Some drawings in my art journals were done when I was with Grandma, and I think of her whenever I see that drawing...

The passages we go through our in lives can take us along paths we may not have realized we'd experience. You are already developing good habits of renewal for your spirit and body. These are things that will help you, no doubt, as you and your Sister help your Mom on her journey.

I went through a similar situation with my mom. She came to live with us for three years before her death at age 92 in 2006. If there was just one bit of advice I would give to you (and sis) would be to ask for help and don't wait too long to do it. That was our mistake---thinking we were handling it so well. I look back and wonder what we were thinking? Educate yourselves and get respite before you're burned out. I had mama in our home until two days before she died. I am glad we were able to do that but we should have gotten more respite care. We were physically and emotionally exhausted before we finally admitted that we just couldn't do it any more. We put our own health and well being at risk. It doesn't mean you love your mom any less. In fact, you'll be a better caregiver if you take care of yourself, too!

Thanks for the update, by the way. This journey we're all on is much easier if we share our burdens and our joys. You've done both with this post.

Dear Mary Ann, Here you, who gives so much has worries that so many of us learn about. I'm sure that your mother's crowning glory is her family. My mother, too had this. One day, I went to visit and she didn't know who I was-that was a hard one, but she and i managed anyway. I would say, "How are you today, Sweetcakes?" She would smile and look at me as though I had all the answers-so I pretended that I did. Being there to share is important and your visit will be meaningful to her-and to you-it all matters. The strength that she and I both needed was somehow always there. It was joy-filled, too. Part of your self-care is to keep doing things you love and breathing that fresh sea air! Good for you. I'm pulling for all of you.

When I was dealing with my mother's Azheimer's in the late '90's, I would take a half hour break and go down to the sea. Just watching the waves and slowly breathing in that ocean air would calm and restore. Sounds like you've already got that covered. Loving thoughts for you and your family.

Oh my dear Mary Ann, so sorry to hear that Mama Moss is experiencing this. So many of your readers have fallen in love with her thanks to your blog. She is fortunate to have the daughters she has, Carol so close by and you and other sisters to visit. I loved Carols stories and photos of her and the baby grand-daughter!

We are experiencing the same with my 90 year old Mom, who has suffered for a few years with macular degeneration, a rough blow to anyone whose joy in life was reading. Add the dementia and it is very tough. Then my 98 year old Pop whose sharp mind has outlasted every part of his body, a different kind of challenge. My sister, like yours lives close by, along with many other relatives. I spend as much time as I possibly can traveling to be with them for a few weeks at a time. It is heartbreaking at times, but through understanding, and lots of love, the path can be a little less rocky.

Your family will be in my thoughts and prayers.

Her little rowboat taking on water is such a touching phrase, perfect.

My heart goes out to you and Mama Moss--I can only imagine how scary it must be when one realizes that their mind is not what it once was and not understanding. Soak in the waves and the beach and your connection with the earth to keep you grounded in the months ahead.

You have learned patience and acceptance through all of your experiences. This is one more lesson, difficult because it is so personal and immediate. Your connection to the world, natural and constructed, will be a significant support for this part of the path.
Many loving thoughts flow to you and yours.

Dementia is a hard, hard thing. Sorry to hear about Mama Moss. I wish all of you all the best in dealing with this grim reality. The sea and sand and sleep and art will offer much needed strength. xoxo

PS: You've probably already checked into this, but sometimes certain medications can impair brain function. Just a thought.

Tuck into the books and paints and wander the kelp-strewn sand. The winds of time are the one thing we cannot stop. I always get such joy from just seeing photos of Mama Moss, and you and your sisters all remind me of my own. She does glow from the inside as Susie said, as really all of you do.

I'm saddened by the news of your sweet Mom, I do so love hearing about her adventures. I'm glad you've got this time to yourself, to recharge, relax, slow and easy with no pulls but that of the tides. I've been peekin in on Carol every so often and I saw some adorable pics of a special great grand baby which made me smile huge. My grandma and grandpa on my Mom's side both developed dementia They were in their 80's. They were my favorites; grandpa had raspberry bushes in the back yard of their tiny home in a teeny tiny town in sw MN out in the middle of no where and I was constantly eating them and got swatted more than once by grandpa joe with his cane and grandma made fresh bread, cinnamon rolls and buns every saturday morning and she'd always give me a piece of dough to knead into my own personal pan of rolls. I loved staying for extended visits. Your Mom so reminds me of my grands and I remember when they slowly started to ebb and fade, first it was grandpa, grandma hung on tight for several more years. It's hard and scary and sad for everyone involved. Your mom is such a spirited gal and that smile of hers lights up a room. She glows from the inside. I'll keep good thoughts for all of you. One thing is for sure, she is in good hands with Carol close by. Glad you get to have a visit soon. Surrounded by love and family is the best place she can be.

My grandpa had dementia. It was difficult doing simple activities with him. It just requires patience. When I told my dad that his ex-wife had died, (his wife), he told me that he did not know about it. But he did know, because I called him when it happened. I had already told him once. Probably, his two other children had told him, as well. It was upsetting, because, for the first time I realized my dad had what his father had. I noticed he was upset and quickly ended the conversation. It is important to enjoy one's life. The sea is a very healing place to be.

I am so sorry to hear that your mom is developing dementia. It is a very scary process for the whole family. My mom was diagnosed with dementia in December 2011. She had been just forgetting and losing things until she had surgery for an abdominal aortic aneurysm. Anesthesia caused her to have a temporary psychotic break...psychotic part went away but she could never be left to live on her own again. Moved her to IL with my brother for about 9 months and now she is.living in a dementia unit here in TN. She can't remember what she had to eat as soon as she leaves the table but she still remembers us so that is a blessing. She is a happier personality than she was when she had all her cognitive ability. She did the NY Times crossword in pen and was an avid reader. She doesn't even watch TV now. It's good that you are visiting Mama Moss next month...cherish her while she is still herself, even a forgetful version of herself. As crusty as my mom could get, I miss her. I like what Judi related about her mother-in-law. I pray it goes like that for both of our families.

You have my heart with Momma. Going through same thing. The real hell of it seems to be the fact that they realize this is happening. I cannot imagine...

Dementia is scary, sad and fills all involved with a feeling of helplessness. My dear father-in-law is just the opposite...sharp as a tack at 86, but his body is breaking down. This makes him crazy with frustration...life is wheelchairs and depending on others for daily personal needs. A smile, listening to his stories and the sense of touch seems to bring him joy these days...so we smile, listen and hold hands. Comfort, support and not feeling alone is huge. Sounds like ya'll have that covered. Momma Moss knows she is loved.

Enjoy that ocean...it's good for the soul. The majestic Oregon Coast awaits my arrival to ring in 2014!

Sounds like just what you need. I'm glad you're taking care of yourself as well. My mother-in-law developed dementia. At first, she was very confused and argumentative; fearful and angry. I suppose because she could sometimes tell that something was wrong. Later, it was a calm and happy experience for her. With love and support (and wisdom - good for you for studying up on it!), the last years were actually pretty lovely.

Not an easy road; you have my empathy.

Oh, so sorry to hear that Momma Moss is floundering in the sea of dementia...a most frightening aspect of aging. I wish there was some cure for the state of being, but it seems not to be possible.

Glad you're off to see her soon. I'm sure that will brighten her days.

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