A Son’s Letter to His Mother with Alzheimer’s Disease

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About a year ago, Cynthia got lost on the way to her favorite ice cream place – one she had been to time and time again. When she finally found it, ordered herself a treat and got on the road home, she was alarmed to realize she couldn’t figure out how to drive across the street, becoming disoriented with the number of bright headlights and speed and number of the cars. In the weeks that followed this incident, she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.

Cynthia and her son on Mother's Day

Cynthia and her son on Mother’s Day

Cynthia, 64, has become a passionate advocate for individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and their families, attending advocacy meetings, support groups and speaking at events. She recently moved to a retirement community in Napa, Calif., to be close to her son, who is her primary caregiver. She shared with us a letter her son wrote to her about the present and the future.

Mom,

I don’t want you to worry or be afraid. Let’s enjoy every single day and not think too much about whether you can remember as well as you could in the past.

I will watch over you and won’t let anything bad happen to you. If the time comes when we need to do more for you, I will make sure you have everything you need to have a great quality of life.

I wish I could change things. I wish I could take your illness for you but I can’t. All I can do is be there for you and love you.

Helpful information related to this story:

Hear from more early stage voices

If you have early stage Alzheimer’s

If you have younger onset Alzheimer’s (diagnosed before age 65)

Find early stage support groups in Northern California and Northern Nevada

More stories by Cynthia:

6 Responses

  1. Rick Smith says:

    I had the pleasure of spending the day with Cynthia at our Advocacy day in Sacramento this year. What a lovely and caring person she is and a very powerful and convincing advocate for the Alzheimer’s Association. It was truly my pleasure to be able to meet and get to know such a fine person … even if just for a day… keep smiling Cynthia. your friend Rick

  2. RANDY M says:

    What s sweet letter you wrote. I too lost my mom to Alzheimers after a 15 yr battle. what you mention in your letter about mom not worrying she is in safe hands was perfect. there will come the time when your mom won’t know you or any one she knew before, but I whole heartedly believe even through the blank stares, she will smile when she sees you somehow remembering all the love and support you gave her during this disease. it is a horrible disease to endure and heartbreaking for the caregiver which I was as well. prayers to you, your mom and your whole family.

  3. Richard P Criscione says:

    Indeed, I am happy to see that a son has recognized ,and come to terms with ,the fact that his mother has Alzheimer’s Disease ,and is preparing for what the future brings . In my case ,I am the youngest of three “boys” and it was I who became my mom’s health care proxy ,and ultimately her Legal Guardian, due to the fact that the other two brothers of mine were in denial or didn’t want to accept the fact that she was ill. Their ideas were to have her institutionalized ,and the rest would have been history. My Mom still had a strong will to live ,(she was 88 when diagnosed) and loved life ,despite her difficulties .She was terrified of “being put in a home” and I promised I would never let it happen .I procured an apt. in my bldg., which I am the Superintendent, on my floor, and she lived their until this monster of a disease finally claimed her life. I gave her the best care I could ,took her to Doctors , and financed all of her caretakers ,in addition to Care taking myself for her 14 hrs. a day . All was possible because I had the help and love from my wife ,for without her it would have been impossible. June 1,of this year was 2 years my mom passed ,and I have no regrets , and I know I did all ,that could be done…. Rest in peace ,Mom…..

  4. Kerry DeBenedetti says:

    I, too, spent a day with Cynthia- in Washington, D.C., in April. Her courage runs deep. She carried her son’s letter with her and read it to members of Congress and their staff as we asked for support of legislation that would improve the outlook for people with dementia.
    Cynthia, may your son’s love and your own cheerfulness carry you with lightness through whatever is to come.

  5. Margaret Regalado says:

    Ausome letter how blessed she is to have caring son who takes care of her some of us have sons who are ashamed of their mother god bless Ed.

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