Sunday, November 09, 2008

Saying Goodbye

For a Blog Carnival event on Facebook ["Alzheimer's Disease - The Long Goodbye"] we have been asked to blog about mental health issues in our family.

As I have been gathering family health facts as they pertain to genealogy and family history over the many years I have been researching my family, I have accumulated a lot of information. This is not always easy to find out as many people do not like giving this type of information or simply do not know what types of ailments people have.

Unfortunately for me, women in my family, many of who live to be very elderly, are not only frail but quickly develop dementia. "Alzheimer's Disease - The Long Goodbye" is related to this topic. This is a photo of my mother who did not want to pose for this photo. She was always artsy and her learning style was abstract random. She loves to paint and draw and decorate her home. She held a degree in art from RISD and studied photography and fashion design for her major. She was annoyed because I am so like her mother and was not interested in things she enjoyed. Conversation in her old age was strained. No topic was safe.

Her mother [our four generation photo] and her mother's sister both exhibited dementia prior to their death. Both women were "sharp" prior to this. My mother however began to be fearful and have hallucinations. It was very scary. She adored her house and now was afraid of it. She was fading away from us. It came on slowly and progressed quickly and worsened with her getting pneumonia. She had a lucid moment and was taken off life support at her own request. Then, she was gone.

This left me as the oldest women in my maternal line. I think I am very much at risk for dementia. I worry about how this might carry to my daughter.

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