The “No Longer List”
When Dealing With Dementia
By Cheryl Siciliano
Thank you all for helping get to this point in my journey with Mom.
- I no longer have to be right about anything.
- I no longer insist on matching clothes.
- I no longer try to explain everything.
- I no longer cry in front of Mom.
- I no longer correct her.
- I no longer apologize for her actions.
- I am no longer uptight.
- I no longer mention outings or parties more than a day in advance.
- I no longer think I am the only one in this battle.
- I no longer get mad or frustrated.
- I no longer try to control her spending.
- I no longer question.
- I no longer feel guilty.
- I no longer feel bad about the past.
- I no longer fear her.
I’m o.k. for now!
Thank you Cheryl for sharing the wonderful lessons you have learned on your journey with your own mother. Below is a bit of back story on Cheryl and her personal journey with dementia. – Lori La Bey Founder of Alzheimer’s Speaks
I’m Cheryl Siciliano from Billerica Massachusetts. I am married to a firefighter who works 2 jobs so that I can be home to care for my Mom who is 80 years old. I also take care of my precious granddaughter who is 8 months old. I was really the only logical choice as caregiver. My other siblings all work full time.
If truth be told, None of had a great relationship with our Mother. Our childhood was complicated with so many moves across the Country. We never stayed in one place long enough to develop long friendships. I attended 12 different schools in 12 years.
My Mother self medicated with alcohol and prescription meds. She made some bad choices. It wasn’t until her 70’s that she mellowed out . I was in Massachusetts and my Mother and Stepfather lived in Florida. We saw them in small doses. I have struggled my whole life with the fallout from her manic episodes and was happy to be 1000 miles apart.
Fast forward to 2014. My stepfather passed away 2 years prior. I was beginning to hear strange stories about my Mother not eating. Living in an apartment after losing her home. I tried to ignore and hope it was not true. My sister who lived in Florida at the time told me she was getting very forgetful and the apartment manager was concerned. I went regrettably to Florida to see for myself. It was awful. Her quality of life was dreary at best. She stopped driving (thank God). With that she lost a connection with her daily life.
In June I decided My Mother should come to stay for the Summer or at least until we could come up with a plan. She was diagnosed with Dementia / most likely Alzheimers. The first 6 months were terrible. I read everything I could to cope and provide the best care. It wasn’t until after reading daily posts from Memory People that I realized I wasn’t alone. I learned to let go a little bit at a time. It all started coming together. My list of 15 “I NO LONGER’S” were just little pieces of a puzzle that started becoming clear to me. I look back and can not believe how brutal I was. I am in a better place now. I am still sad that it took this long to come to grips and accept My Mom. I set myself free from the past. I am now able to find enjoyment with my Mom. She loves me. She needs me. I will always be here for her. This is some divine intervention because I was a very hurt daughter.
We have both been given a second chance at love. I am so grateful for the progress in our relationship. It sounds weird to say that about a women who is in later stages of dementia but that is the mind and we are dealing with our hearts.