Saturday, July 31, 2010

Meet Celia--Living with Dementia

Celia Marie Samsel

Celia's Fight
"Anger rails at an uncontrollable beast .
A hideous worm eating away at her life force.
Stealing her memories and her ability to be rational
Leaving just enough to keep her confused and frightened.
Slowly taking everything she holds dear. "

Celia is my mother-in-law and has lived with us for 3 years now. She has dementia and is no longer able to care for herself. The last few months her disease has escalated and she is losing her fight to remain herself.
One of her few pleasures now is setting in the yard while I work. She sets and listens to the birds sing and dreams about a life that is fading away
She was always a feisty,very strong willed woman... not always so easy to get along with..but very sure of herself. I miss that woman as I watch her set and stare and cry about a life she can no longer control.
I miss the wonderful Italian meals that woman could cook and the recipes she was always going to share someday and never got around to it. She never wrote them down. Family recipes her mother brought from Italy.
I even miss those in your face arguments on on how to make a bed or wash a pot. She was the original "Mrs.. Clean" and loved her self proclaimed job of "Clean Police"
Once in awhile I still catch a sparkle in her eye that's a remnant of her old self . A fleeting flash soon lost.
For awhile I resented her constant presence and the loss of my own time and freedom. Now I fear that she will soon be leaving us forever and there is nothing I can do to stop it.
What will I do with out her to care for?
Who would have thought that a woman who hated me in the beginning would become so important to me in the end.
I love her and miss her already.


  1. What wonderful and honest words, Carol! I know Celia loves you more than you will ever know! Your place in heaven is secured! Don't forget to take care of you as well!

  2. This is so sad, and I dislike seeing people who have to suffer like this..

    Your post is so raw and honest, and shows so much love..God bless her and bless you!

  3. I understand how hard it is to live with and care for a relative with dementia.

    My aunt suffered for many years. She kept washing her hands because she said they were dirty,(until she had blisters from too much rubbing and the soap. And she kept wanting to shower because she forgot she had showered.

    Then she forgot she had eaten. And asked why dinner hasn't been served.

    Yet, all we can do is to sit and make them as comfortable.

    I didn't live with a dementia patient. But I did have to sit and wait for my baby son to die. I won't want that experience on any one.

    p/s Thanks for visiting.

  4. Beautiful post Carol. Wonderful pictures too. A very emotional and hard disease to live with for all concerned. My Aunt had Alzheimer's and while no one really understands how it is for someone else I can at least know a little about how you feel. The sadness and frustration can be overwhelming. What a very kind and good thing you are doing, you have a good heart.

  5. Thank You everyone for your kind words.

  6. Brought tears to my eyes. Bless you and your kindness and love. Thank you for following; your blog is wonderful!


  7. What a wonderful tribute to your mother-in-law. This disease is harder on those who watch than on those who have it and it takes a lot of courage to care for a loved one with this disease.

  8. My Grampa had alzheimers... Its so difficult to watch. I was raising babies when this happened and my parents did a lot for him. My Nana put him in a home and my parents would go get him for 3-4 days at a time every week. They didnt agree with him being there away from the family he loved so much. He would sit and watch my girls play for hours and laugh but was no longer able to form words.
    Before he got that bad when he started getting lost driviing my dad and his brother had to tell him he couldnt drive anymore. One of the most heartbreaking things my dad said he ever had to do..
    Grampa was the sweet part of that side of the family and kept every one behaving. When he died they got hateful and greedy.. We no longer see them much.Its so sad to see a loved one go through that.
    I hope I can be the same way when its my inlaws or parents need care..

  9. What beautiful tribute to a mother in-law. God bless you for the love and care you've given her.

    Your garden has been a beautiful place for her to spend her last moments with you.

  10. Oh Carol I know the feeling!

    My late father had it before anybody could diagnose what it was. But each time he sees me, he remembered everything!

    My boyfriend's late father had it too, yet, again, he remembered everything when he was with me.

    I know it is difficult to live with someone we love who is in this state but I hope people will always take the time to do so. It is such a precious moment...

  11. Beautiful! As I wipe the tears from my eyes and the ones running down my face this is so hard to deal with as I also am starting on this same adventure with my mom as we did with my mom's mom and her mom before her. Life is precious and I finally really understand those words. You can be very proud of this in her honor.

  12. Carol!! So touching and I understand every word. I was my Grandmother's caretaker for about 3 years. She also suffered from Dementia. She passed last year about this time. One of the hardest yet most rewarding things I have ever endured. As my Grandma was passing even in her state of mind, the last words she said to me was I'm proud of you. I'll cherish those moments forever. Your a very strong and loving person!