January 2013 - New York City with a Touch of Snow
When I lived in New York City, I used to look forward to returning home for a New England Christmas, in part because the odds for snow were better there than in the city. More importantly, I had a home to which I could return, one by a pine graced lake, warmed by a fireplace, the gathering spot for a large, loving family, a home that alas is no more.
This Christmas I spent again with my mother, Evelyn, and my brother Mark and his family Susan, Tom and Joe. Mark cares for our mother at this stage of her life, although she still lives in a place by herself at the age of 83. By walking every day and taking better care of herself these days she has outlived her own mother by 9 years. Still, watching her cognitive impairment can be disheartening.
I consider myself lucky that unlike so many of my friends I was able to share another Christmas with my mother. Every film we shared on her widescreen TV was a new experience for her, even favorite chestnuts like "It's a Wonderful Life."
At Christmas mass, her parish pastor, Msgr. Kevin J. Nelan gave a first rate sermon, relating the meaning of the day to modern concerns, a connection that isn't always made in a homily. I found our time at the Church of the Immaculate Conception well spent as a source of much needed spiritual and communal support. At my coaxing, my mother sang along with the choir in her still sweet alto. Those were words that hadn't failed her.
Diet, exercise, stress control and modern medicine can help slow the progress of Alzheimer's disease. When we reach middle age, we sometimes forget where we left our car keys. We joke about "senior moments," when we can't remember something but these are real concerns. When somebody you love forgets your name, it drives the point home. I remain optimistic in the face of aging and hope that new research will ultimately lead to a cure for this scourge of old age.
Anti-Aging Diary © 2013 Checkmate Pictures