婆婆贝蒂和她与阿尔茨海默症的抗争(上)

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前天是我婆婆贝蒂
去世十周年,我追忆着10年前和那天的记忆。贝蒂是2007713日星期五于日落时分在一家护理院离去的,享年86岁。她的世并非出乎意料,比较确切地说是她自己决定的。那么,10年了,还有什么触动我呢?简单地说,就是一件事:她让我见证了一个美丽生命最后的旅程及其优美、异常的辞别。我永远不会忘记她与阿尔茨海默症的抗争、对家人的爱、以及走向天堂之门的最后路程。

1)日落 - 2007713日星期五

泰迪(我丈夫)、他的姐姐卡罗尔、姐夫吉姆、哥哥罗杰和我,来到卡罗尔住所的俱乐部,共进晚餐。我们刚要点菜,泰迪的手机响了。泰迪和我立即站起来,驱车返回护理院。路上,泰迪沉默无语。他一边开车、一边向窗外望去,看,日落。是的,落日刚刚射出最后一束光芒,拥抱和染红了云朵。晚上七时左右,星期五,是一个美好的夜晚。

贝蒂的私人护士露丝给我们讲述了贝蒂最后的时刻,生动地描绘了她前往天堂之门的最后路程。一时间,贝蒂的呼吸急促起来,上不来气。但是,很快,她露出了微笑,带着脸上不同寻常的光泽,轻呼了一声,啊!

露丝感觉自己非常幸运,陪伴着贝蒂到达了天门。
我们都感谢她,因为她是陪伴贝蒂最后一程的天使。




2我的家人”与“花” - 贝蒂与阿尔茨海默症的抗争

那是2003年,在我结婚之前,第一次见到贝蒂。泰迪带我去凤凰城亚利桑那州的一个24小时记忆保健中心,告诉我贝蒂有阿尔茨海默病。泰迪的父亲去世后,她一直住在这样的保健、养老的设施里。我们准备了一束花和其它小礼物。那个记忆保健中心是一个安静和漂亮的地方。贝蒂已经打扮齐正,在一间单卧室的公寓里等着我们。妈,这是灵灵,泰迪介绍了我。贝蒂很愉快、和蔼,回答说:欢迎来到家里,给了我一个温暖的拥抱。我向她送上鲜花,她很喜欢。

我们带着她在保健中心的庭院里散步,她很开心。泰迪告诉我贝蒂从小就喜欢走路。当护士和她的朋友走过来的时候,贝蒂向他们介绍我俩,说 他们是我的家人, 然后悄悄地问我:你叫什么名字?我再次告诉她,她笑了笑,似乎有点儿尴尬。我想,我还得从头学起,她说。我对她的勇气和努力印象极深,很难相信她实际上已经是阿尔茨海默中期的患者了。泰迪说,她的乐观精神让她在丈夫去世以后,在很长时间里能够独自生活、照顾自己。

当我们回到她的房间时,她看到了鲜花,赞叹道:啊,又有人给我送花来了!泰迪后来多次对我说,妈妈是个非常随和、乐观的人,连她的病都不能破坏她的好心情,还把它变成新的享受。啊,又有人给我送花来了!她反复地说了一遍又一遍,在健忘中再次感受到了快乐。








-- My Mother-in-Law Betty and Her Battle of Alzheimer (Part I) --

 
Two days ago, it was the 10th anniversary of Betty, my mother-in-law. I had been thinking of the day in the memory. Betty passed away at sunset, on the Friday of July 13, 2007 at a nursing home in Phoenix Arizona. She was 86 years old. Her passing was not unpredicted and more precisely was determined by herself. What would it still strike me? For one thing: that she let me witness the graceful passing of a
beautiful life. I would never forget her battle with Alzheimer, her love for her family, and her final farewell and departure to the Gate of Heaven.

1)     The Sunset on Friday, July 13, 2007

Ted, his sister Carol, brother-in-law Jim, brother Roger and I came to the club house of Carol’s residence for a family dinner. Just before we made an order, Ted's cell phone rang. Ted and I immediately stood up. While driving back toward the nursing home, Ted was silent. He seemed to look away through the window, ‘Ling, look at the sunset.’ Yes, the twilight had just given its last rays to embrace and redden the clouds. It was a beautiful evening around 7 p.m. on Friday.

Ruth, Betty’s private caregiver, told us of the last moments of Betty, which vividly depicted the last steps of her journey to the Gate of Heaven. She had a few moments of short breaths and labor. But it was followed by a smile on her radiant face, and she gave a final ‘Ah’. Ruth felt very fortunate to accompany Betty to the Gate. And we all thanked her, for she was the angel to accompany Betty for the last steps.

 
2)     ‘My Family’ and Flowers – Her Battle with Alzheimer

It was 2003, before Ted and I got married, when I met Betty for the first time. Ted took me to a 24-hour memory care center in Phoenix Arizona and told me that Betty had Alzheimer. She had been living in such facilities after Ted’s father passed away. We brought flowers and other small gifts. The memory care center was a quiet and pretty facility. We found Betty dressed up and waited for us in a one-bed room dormitory-like apartment. ‘Mom, this is Lingling,’ Ted introduced me. She was quite pleasant and replied, ‘Welcome to the family,’ and gave me a warm hug. I presented her with the flowers, and she absolutely loved it.

We took her for a short walk in the courtyard of the facility. She truly enjoyed it. Ted told me before that Betty loved walking from childhood. When nurses and her friends walked by, she introduced us to them, ‘They are my family.’ She then quietly asked me, ‘What’s your name?’ After I told her again, she smiled and appeared to be a little embarrassed. ‘I guess I have to learn it again,’ she said. I was so impressed by her encouragement and brevity. It was hard for me to believe that she was actually already into mid-term of Alzheimer. Her spirit was high and kept her going after Ted’s father passed away.  

When we got back to her room, she saw the flowers and acclaimed, ‘Ah, somebody sent me flowers!’ Ted later said it to me many times that Mom was very gracious and optimistic, even her sickness could not destroy her spirit but helped turn it into new enjoyment. ‘Ah, somebody sent me flowers!’ She said this repeatedly, experiencing the joy again in her forgetfulness.





























 















Bluebonnets 发表评论于
回复 'yingjia' 的评论 : 谢谢关注和建议。我马上找你说的改过来。
Bluebonnets 发表评论于
回复 '5706' 的评论 : 的确,贝蒂总是那么天真、善良、慈祥的样子。病轻些的时候,还帮忙照看病友。希望你的母亲有家人守护在身边。
Bluebonnets 发表评论于
回复 '闲闲客' 的评论 : 谢谢,是贝蒂叫我看到了这些。我也很感激她。
yingjia 发表评论于
好文。我的研究有些是有关老年照顾的,很希望听到病人和家属分享他/她们的经历。一个小建议:在美国,习惯用caregiver 不太用caretaker。
5706 发表评论于
等不及看下一篇,自己老妈得了同样的病,想起来就心痛。你婆婆平生一定是个内外都美丽都人。
闲闲客 发表评论于
痛苦折磨人的老年痴呆症让你写得很美。
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