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To Mom With Love

My Mom was and still is the quiet type. Her thoughts were never expressed, they were hers and hers alone, and never to be shared with anyone, not even with her husband.  It always bothered me why my Mom was a woman of few words. I wondered if she thought that her opinion didn’t matter or was it instilled in her that women ought to be silent.  She never complained about anything; she was always content; she avoided contentious issues, never argued with anyone, and got along well with most. 

I told you that my Mom was never one to complain, nor shared her thoughts or talked about any pain or discomfort she was feeling except for this one thing.  I do remember my mom saying on more than one occasion, “I’m having trouble walking straight.”  She said it in such a nonchalant manner and tone that no one, not even I, took the time to respond to her cry, until “The Fall.”

After the fall in December of 2017, my Mom was diagnosed with neurosyphilis.  I’ve heard the word syphilis before but not neurosyphilis. I had no idea what it was.  The doctor told me and my father that it is an infection of the nervous system, specifically of the brain and the spinal cord.  There are different types of neurosyphilis and their symptoms vary depending on the type.  Symptoms of neurosyphilis are the weakening of the muscles, trouble balancing, loss of coordination and an altered walk.  The hardening of the arteries in the brain is known to contribute and progress to dementia.  After receiving detailed information from the doctor, my family and I were able to conclude the symptoms of neurosyphilis were what my Mom was referring to when she complained that she was unable to walk straight.

I cannot turn back the clock; I know that but oh, how I wish I could.  If I had the opportunity to turn back the hands of time, I would have paid closer attention to my Mom’s silent suffering; I should have insisted that she see a doctor, I should have been there for her – but I wasn’t.  Dementia has taken a whole of my Mom’s mind and robbed her of her ability to think, her short-term memory, and left her in utter silence and lacking any form of motivation. 

I visit my Mom almost daily in hopes of redeeming the time or making the most of every opportunity, but instead, she sits in her favorite chair, staring into the abyss. Silence and stillness have become her only companions.  I try to engage her by asking, “Do you want to watch TV, Mom?” She replied, “No”.  “Wanna play a game?”, the answer is the same, “No”. “What would you like to do, Mom?”, “Nothing”, she says.  So I sit with her in solitude, silently sending her my love and wishing that she would desire to want to do more with the end days of her life. But, solitude is what she wants.  She is my Mom and I love her dearly.

Many thanks to Andrea Fickert from the Alzheimer Society Peel, Andrea has been a rock to my family in these difficult times.

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Alzheimer’s Awareness

Dementia is affecting the lives of one in four Canadians daily. January is Alzheimer’s awareness month, and the Greater Toronto Area is filled with walks, workshops, activities, and tons of cool events, spreading awareness about Alzheimer’s. Our Buddy Services supports the elderly community and those living with Alzheimer’s, live with dignity and respect. We encourage the elderly population, the terminally ill, and persons with dementia to engage in the community and discover a new lease on life.

To contribute to spreading awareness, we have created a list of events, workshops, and resources taking place this month in the Greater Toronto Area. Buddy Services is here to support you, a family member or friend attend any of these events in the city.

We look forward to working with you and supporting our community through our services.

Active Minds Social Club
January 13, @ 9:00 am – 4:00 pm EST
Scarborough Centre for Healthy Communities

Dementia 101
January 14, @ 6:30 PM – 7:30 PM EST
Humberwood Library

Finding Joy and Humour in Dementia Care
January 16, @ 10:00 am – 12:00 pm EST
North York Seniors Centre

First Steps
January 17, @ 8:30 – 12:00 pm
Recurring Events (See all) at Alzheimer Societ;y of Hamilton Halton-Hamilton Office

Living Well with Dementia
January 17th, @ 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Richmond Hill Presbyterian Church

Recreation For Dementia
January 21, @ 9:30 – 12:30 pm at Burlington Public Library

Alzheimer Awareness Workshop
January 25, @ 10:00 AM – 1:00 PM EST
Milton Seniors Activity Centre

Alzheimer Awareness Workshop
January 29, @ 5:00 PM – 7:30 PM EST
Indus Community Services
306 – 3038 Hurontario Street

Frailty, Aging and Dementia: Considerations for the Dementia Journey
January 30, @ 6:30 PM – 8:00 PM EST
The Jubilee Banquet Hall and Conference Centre

Alzheimer Society York Region – Caregivers Support Group
February 5, @ 10:30 AM – 12:00 PM EST
Markham Village Library

Written by: Kezia Royer Burkett a creative freelance writer with a degree in communications and multimedia from McMaster University. When she is not writing she is finding inspiration living life, raising her son and spending time with friends and family.