I had the good fortune to meet Ken Capron about a year or so ago. He came to see me to talk about Memory Works and his Memory Cafe?s. It was an emotional, informational and inspiring meeting for me. Please read about Ken and his mission on page 4. He is doing really good work, despite the obstacles presented by his own dementia. I applaud and admire Ken for pursuing his passion, and for devoting his life to create better circumstances for others like him.
Reading Susan Gallaher’s piece on page 17 of this issue of My Generation about the beast who stole her mother reminded me a lot of my own mom and my experience with her Alzheimer’s disease. My mom died on Dec. 17, 2008, slipping quietly away, hopefully finding peace from the confusion that had controlled her life for the previous two years. At her funeral, I read the poem below, which had been shared with me many years earlier from a woman who had lost her mother to Alzheimer’s.
Two Mothers Remembered
by Joann Snow Duncanson
I had two Mothers – two Mothers I claim
Two different people, yet with the same name.
Two separate women, diverse by design,
But I loved them both because they were mine.
The first was the Mother who carried me here,
Gave birth and nurtured and launched my career.
She was the one whose features I bear,
Complete with the facial expressions I wear.
She gave her love, which follows me yet,
Along with the examples in life she set.
As I got older, she somehow younger grew,
And we’d laugh as just Mothers and daughters do.
But then came the time that her mind clouded so,
And I sensed that the Mother I knew would soon go.
So quickly she changed and turned into the other,
A stranger who dressed in the clothes of my Mother.
Oh, she looked the same, at least at arm’s length,
But now she was the child and I was her strength.
We’d come full circle, we women three,
My Mother the first, the second and me.
And if my own children should come to a day,
When a new Mother comes and the old goes away,
I’d ask of them nothing that I didn’t do.
Love both of your Mothers as both loved you.
This issue of My Generation is filled with a lot of good information. As baby boomers, we have been blessed with the prospect of living longer, fuller lives. The other side of this will be more exposure to and experience with dementia and other brain illnesses. As with cancer or heart disease, we have to learn as much about these diseases and how lifestyle and other choices that we make now can impact our future.
Lee Hews, Publisher