Skip to main content

The Long Goodbye: When do you get help?

Last night I explored the unthinkable. That sentence might sound dramatic to you, but I assure you adding "drama" to my life is the last thing on my mind. Four years ago my dad and I visited a support group for family members of Alzheimer patients. It seemed silly for us to go; my mom was not like any of the people they described. I went to two meetings and decided that my emotional well-being was being greatly jeopardized. My take away from those meetings was something that would continue to haunt my thoughts- "You will know when you can't take care of them anymore. It is then that you must get help." And so, it is with every passing day, days when she seems worse, when she can't remember how to hold and eat a sandwich or put her arms through her bra straps, that I think, "Is it time to get help?"

I remember telling my dad at dinner after one of the meetings that we would not ever need help. He agreed. I was empowered by the unconditional love I had for my mom and assured myself that we would do it on our own. The reality that has struck in the past month, is that we are all to angry to do it alone. We have reached a breaking point. My mom is becoming more like the disease and less like herself, making my dad quickly frustrated, not at her but at what it has done to his beloved mate. And so, I know the time is drawing near.

I sat at my computer last night and researched in-home care options. I was tired of my dad denying that we needed help- that it is in our family's best interest that we not try this on our own any longer. I filled out a questionnaire about the progression of my mom's disease. Every single question about her ability was answered as "Dependent on Others." It wasn't until that moment I realized it truly was time. It was no longer assisting with finding shoes, turning on the TV, or brushing her hair. She had reached the point of needing help for every activity but walking, sitting, and standing. My beautiful, self-sufficient, loving, thoughtful, articulate, socially active mom had become "Dependent." It was one of the hardest realizations I will have on this journey.

With all options researched, I have also realized my dad's hesitation to bring someone from the outside into our home. Knowing the options feels like a relief and a defeat. How can we just leave her, even if it is only for a little while? Will this new person learn to love her as much as we do? Will my mom be scared? Can a new situation like this make her worse?

All are questions that won't be answered in one day, though a quick fix is what I want. Now is where prayer must become our outlet. It is without prayer that this situation may certainly fail. I ask you to please pray for knowledge and wisdom to be imparted to us over the next few weeks as we seek-out help. And, if you now of anyone that can work with Alzheimer patients we are open to recommendations. This is a continual learning process and I thank you for allowing me to share my thoughts with you.

With love and gratitude,



  1. Sweet Mare,

    How my heart breaks for you! I know you will find someone wonderful to help your Dad just as we found you.

  2. Mare I love you so much and think of your family often. I really think you should call Mrs. Parkinson-- I am sure she will know or know someone who will know good options in Little Rock. Call me and I can give you her phone numbers. I need to call you soon anyway... I'll try to call you this weekend since you go on vacation soon!


Post a Comment

Past Posts

Mary Grace

At 2:00 am this morning, our sweet Mary Grace was welcomed to Heaven. We found out this afternoon that she had a large brain hemorrhage. Reid and I spent three precious hours holding our daughter tonight. The nurses wrapped a pink bow around her little head and we swaddled her in a soft pink elephant blanket. During those hours, we told Mary Grace how proud we were of her fight, how she fulfilled our dreams of one day having a daughter to call "Gracie," and we even took a little nap, snuggled together as a family. If we told her we loved her once, we told her a thousand times. We prayed over her and gave her back to the Lord. We miss her more than words can say. I feel like we were punched in the stomach today and left with the wind knocked out of our lungs. Its so hard to understand "why?" in all of this. Tonight when we left the hospital, Reid turned on this song by David Crowder Band and we listened to it on repeat the whole way home. Its the exact state of our

One day at a time

For the first time in my life I feel like I'm truly living one day at a time. Reid and I had a pretty good day yesterday. We were able to sleep in which was wonderful. Reid made us lunch and we sat outside in the backyard. It was a beautiful day and being outside did a lot of good for my mental health. :) There were still a lot of hard moments as memories from the night before would come rushing back to mind. We miss our sweet babies so much. Olivia had a good day yesterday. It was uneventful (which is a very good thing in the NICU) and they were able to turn down some of her medicine. We call every morning to check on our sweet girl and her nurse was quick to tell us how feisty our daughter is. We picked up on that in her first day of life, but it was funny to hear that someone else had observed the same. We are so in love with our feisty little Olivia. After we left the hospital, Reid and I went on a dinner date. It was so good for us to get out and feel like we

Madelyn Barrett

I really don't even know where to begin or how to write this post. I've put it off for several days hoping that maybe if I let things sink in a little more it would be easy. This will never be easy. As you know, we welcomed three beautiful little girls into the world on Friday afternoon. We had hoped to continue to "buy time" and hold off on delivery for several more weeks. God has always had a plan much bigger than either Reid or I could ever imagine. I have to chose to believe, everyday, that somehow this all fits perfectly into that plan. We knew from the time of her delivery that Madelyn was struggling the most. The circumstances surrounding her birth caused a lot of trauma to her tiny body. After a day of fighting for a positive outcome, the neonatologist came to visit with us and told us it was time to let her go. Late Saturday night we went to the NICU to hold our precious baby for the first and last time. She was absolutely perfect and looked just like h

Family of Four

If all continues to go well we will be headed home from the hospital tomorrow. I got a little stir crazy this afternoon and walking the halls just wasn't going to cut it so I went down to the gift shop to browse a bit. It feels so good to actually feel good after surgery. I also feel pretty rested and I'm very ready to settle into our new normal at home. My dad and Ann have been taking care of Olivia and have been such a tremendous help to us. Reid's parents were in town until this afternoon and Olivia got to spend some time with them yesterday. She's been very well taken care of by all her grandparents and I'm pretty sure she hasn't thought twice about us. Out of sight, out of mind. She has had a cough for a few days so Reid took her to the doctor this morning. Sure enough the cough is just allergy related but sweet girl has her first ear infection. The good news is that she hasn't run a fever and was able to get antibiotics to treat it. For all the change


God has blessed our family with quite a surprise! Olivia is getting a little brother or sister in early December. We are thrilled! As of today I am nine weeks along. We went to the doctor several weeks ago and were able to see the tiny bundle and hear the heartbeat. Everything looks great and we are so thankful! I'll share more details in the next few weeks. :)