Happy Birthday Mother

Happy Birthday Mother

Today would have been my mother’s 97th birthday. I wonder if, in her right mind, she would have wanted to live that long. There have been so many changes in the world. She wouldn’t recognize it. But then, with the last years of her life being seen through Alzheimer’s, she wouldn’t have recognized me. One of the things about today’s world is the number of people affected by Alzheimer’s disease. There is still no cure. Research continues, and new medications change the outlook, but not the outcome. One thing that remains the same is the toll this disease takes on caregivers. Caring for a loved one, a spouse, a family member, or a friend is difficult at best, heartbreaking at worst. But still, there are moments of humor. I...

Catching Hope

Catching Hope

I have a dream catcher in my office. I love the beauty of it, but I’m not sure of the success rate. I believe in dreams, and encourage others to dream. Sometimes, instead of dreaming just hoping for things is the best I can do. One of the things I hope for is a cure for Alzheimer’s disease. I know that when a cure is found, it won’t affect my mother. I see how far medical science has come. The advancement in the treatment of any number of diseases is impressive. However, if you or someone you love is the one affected, medical science is not moving fast enough. Scientific research dealing with Alzheimer’s is, of course, ongoing. The Alzheimer’s Association website (Alzheimer’s.org) keeps track of new medical testing and clinical...

Could It Be?

Could It Be?

I was speaking with an acquaintance the other day and he asked me if I had any family knowledge about Alzheimer’s disease. I said I did, and asked him what his connection with Alzheimer’s was. He said that he had been diagnosed with dementia, but he didn’t have Alzheimer’s. He asked what the difference was between dementia and Alzheimer’s. I replied that I didn’t know but, at some point, the difference doesn’t matter. One of the things I find interesting about this conversation, and similar conversations, is that people want to be clear, they DON’T have Alzheimer’s disease. Is it the word that scares them? Is it the idea that they might have something for which there is no cure? Is dementia an easier word to...

Simple Moments

Simple Moments

I read the obituary column. Some people may think this is odd. I found my name in there once. It was many years ago, and I was feeling quite well that day. I was shocked and surprised to see MY name listed. The only other thing listed there was the name of the memorial park where services were held. I have been told I am a procrastinator. Well, I’ll think more about that later, but it was a while before I could follow up on my namesake who had passed. By the time I did get to the memorial park, I found that this other Elaine Martin had been cremated and her ashes scattered. That meant there was no stone or marker I could visit to find out more about who she was, how old, place in a family, anything. I recently read the obituary for Lowell Steward, a...

Sad Goodbyes

Sad Goodbyes

I’ve lost two important people in my life recently. Al Martinez died on Monday, January 12, 2015. He had been a columnist for the Los Angeles Times for many years. He wrote several books, and I met him on more than one occasion at his book signings. At that time he also read from his books, and he had such a way with words. In 2012, the Huntington Library had an exhibit titled “Al Martinez: Bard of L.A.” The dictionary defines “bard” as “an exalted national poet.” He was that and more. He was my literary hero. I wanted to be like him when I grew up. He was warm, witty, and very human. He taught writing, and believing I could learn much from him, I gave serious thought to enrolling in his class. It was held in Topanga...