By Vina Mogg
At a caregiver’s conference in Orlando I read a poem I had written during the opening assembly. Three things that happened there marked my writing journey.
A Florida State Representative, Mark Pfaford, key advocate for the Florida’s Alzheimer’s Disease Initiative (ADI), a bill that provides services to meet the needs of individuals and families affected by Alzheimer’s disease, spoke to me after the reading, saying, “Your words give a face to the bill we support.”
An elderly man in the audience stood up and asked, “Where can I go for help? Who can help me care for my wife?”
Three women approached me in the lobby, telling me, “Your poem says exactly what I am feeling inside.”
Each cry isolated calls out the same question:
Am I alone?
Who will help me?
At that moment I asked myself, Who will be a voice for these people?
A voice deep inside me answered, “Here am I. Send me.”
My stories are glimpses into the life of a caregiver nestled between caring for her children as well as her elderly mother with Alzheimers. My mother lived with us for eight years, filling in the gap of my older children who were leaving the nest to go off to college.
In the middle of what my children call “the dark ages” I was trying desperately to control things which were out of my control, not only caring for my mother, but my children as well. My heart was caught between allegiance to my teenage children (knowing they would soon be out of the home and gone), and resentment at the consuming needs of my mother.
Seaglass, shards of broken glass tumbled over time in the surf and rubble, becomes more beautiful and transparent, a clouded, dusky version of its previous form. I began to collect seaglass as a tribute to my mother, one whose life becomes even more beautiful and transparent despite Alzheimers.
As caregivers we isolate ourselves. There is not enough time or energy to explain to others how caregiving consumes life. I post stories as a window to caregiving life and the moments to encourage other caregivers we are not alone, and our loved one with Alzheimers can be the one to reveal lessons to us.
Messy Edges, an essay just released in the anthology, The Wonder Years: 40 Women over 40 on Aging, Faith, Beauty, and Strength, has received an overwhelming response, connecting with others that face or will have to face the task of being a mother to our mother.
About the Author
Vina Mogg is a recent empty nester learning to fly after raising four children with her husband, Brian, in Windermere, Florida. She is launching into various creative pursuits (writing, painting) across the continent and beyond (including Alaska, and France). She is an advocate for caregivers after caring for her mother with Alzheimer’s for the past ten years and is working on a memoir about her caregiving journey. She is recently published in an anthology of essays, The Wonder Years: 40 women over 40 on Aging, Faith, Beauty, and Strength, by Leslie Leyland Fields, and the Oasis Journal. Various stories about Alzheimer’s and caregiving can be found on her blog, seaglasslife.com, and have been published in Huffington Post, Grand Magazine, and grandparentslink.com