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Her Name Is Heather - Losing My Sister To Alzheimer's Disease

Updated on December 27, 2020
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Audrey's desire to help others understand human behavior led her to study psychology.


Symptoms Of Mild Alzheimer's Disease

Alzheimer's disease affects people differently. This disease progresses in several stages: preclinical, mild (sometimes called early-stage), moderate, and severe (sometimes called late-stage). After extensive research, plus my sister's doctor's diagnoses, these are the most common symptoms in the early stages:

  • Problems coming up with the right word or name. Heather cannot recall most words
  • Trouble remembering names when introduced to new people
  • Having greater difficulty performing tasks in social or work settings.
  • Forgetting material that one has just read
  • Losing or misplacing a valuable object
  • Trouble handling money and bills
  • Increased anxiety

Who Will protect the innocent child?
Who Will protect the innocent child? | Source

Her Name Is Heather

Lashes laced with fringe

Feathering her beautiful face

The innocent child hides angel wings

Longing for a safer place

Her name is Heather

Afraid to eat from off her plate

Her trust is buried deep in fear

Reaching for her sisters food

Safe to swallow ghosts disappear

Her name is Heather

Rebellious spirit since her birth

Defying voices filled with rage

Unfair punishment lingers near

Beyond her years at any age

Her name is Heather

Senseless beatings fragile heart

To love or not to love

Scars wrapped in silk a tear apart

Too proud she wears them like a glove

Her name is Heather

Who will protect the innocent child?

Tornadoes whirl around her

Invisable rage a natural state

Poisons lurking to even the pure

Her name is Heather

The womans enemy now are seizures

Grand Mall is the name

Her body broken bruised and punished

The grown child there is no blame

Her name is Heather

Dementia steals her life away

Insideous thief of the mind

Grabbing chunks of memory

She cannot seem to find

Her name is Heather.

She is my sister in the dark

Trying to find her way

The time will come to claim her peace

"Take me home" is what she'll say

Her name is Heather.

God bless her for the life she lived

I'll miss her when she's gone

We'll only be a note apart

I'll find her hidden in my song.

Her name is Heather

Trying To Talk With Someone With Dementia

"So what did you do today?" (This is the third time my sister has asked me this same question.) A bit irritated I replied, "I told you...I went to the symphony." Then my sister asked again, "Who went with you?" My reply for the third time, "Randy."

Our phone conversation was getting on my nerves. My sister, Heather, had problems using the new cell phone. Every other sentence was interrupted by a dial tone. She wasn't the least bit aware of swiping the "end call" shown clearly on her cell phone.

This behavior is caused by dementia. Heather's long-term memory is amazingly clear. However her short-term memory is not. Seeing her slip in-and-out as my sister is like losing her again and again. It's tough!

Dementia Impacts Memory And Social Skills

Dementia refers not to a specific condition but a group of diseases that impact memory, thinking and social skills.
Dementia refers not to a specific condition but a group of diseases that impact memory, thinking and social skills. | Source

Feelings of Guilt

Once the conversation has ended with my sister, and my emotions have had time to cool down, I'm left with over-whelming feelings of guilt and sorrow. "Shame on me for being abrupt with her. What's wrong with me?" I tell myself, "Next time I'll be more patient and understanding." After all, it's not her fault.

Still I ask myself, "When the abusive behavior affects the quality of my own life is it okay to withdraw and stop talking to her?" I search for answers. How do I honor my own feelings and still be there for my sister?

In Conclusion

I feel that my sister is gone. I hear her voice but somehow it's changed. Even the look, the familiar eyes, the strong movements of her body, are under the spell of this devastating disease. I want to save her. I want to rescue my sister. I can do nothing.

My heart goes out to all those who suffer from Alzheimer's as well as those left trying so hard to understand what has happened to their loved one.

“I want to tell you how much I miss my mother. Bits of her are still there. I miss her most when I’m sitting across from her.”

– Candy Crowley

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2015 Audrey Hunt


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