Falling Leaves

by Jeff Ingram on October 31st, 2013

My brother, Jeff Ingram, writes a blog called Sudden Wonder.  This is today's... 

Sudden Wonder

Falling Leaves
There’s a big beautiful tree in our front yard. It provides great shade from the summer sun and every fall turns bright yellow. Every time I round the corner towards home it’s there to greet me and I marvel at its brilliance. 

But as fall lingers on, I’m acutely aware, with each falling leaf its beauty is fading.
It reminds me of Mom.

Alzheimer’s is like a tree in autumn. It starts slowly, almost imperceptibly. The greens begin to fade and shift to yellow, red and brown… then the leaves begin to fall.  
The person you love begins to fall away. Confidence drops off, then wisdom and grace. They are left with barren branches of anxiety and fear.

Sometimes the wind blows and memories cascade away suddenly, rapidly and uncontrollably. They are just gone, blown away, with no hope of returning them to their place.
Because of my life I've seen her rarely the past 12 years, returning every other year to find huge holes where beauty used to be. I can't imagine the pain for my dad and sister, helplessly watching the daily assault.

I think if you care for someone with Alzheimer's every now and then you need to rake their memories into a pile with friends. Jump into them. Spend a day rolling around in them. Remembering, laughing and weeping together. They have lost their leaves, but you can still enjoy them. 

Autumn has lasted too long, and I know she’s nearly into winter. But after winter comes spring, when she will be made new, complete and whole again. I long for that day for her. I pray for it.
And one day, I will turn the corner towards home and she will be there, vibrant and full of life. I will marvel at her brilliance and she will welcome me home. 

Posted by Jeff Ingram at 8:12 AM 

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