November 21, 2018: Gloria Gallagher has lived with Alzheimer’s disease for more than a decade. She’s paralyzed from the chest down. She can’t get out of bed, and has a hard time articulating what she wants to say. She’s been “this close” to death numerous times. And yet, she and her daughter, author BJ Gallagher, often laugh, joke and have a great time during their visits.
“She’s just so dang cute I can hardly stand it sometimes. She just bursts my heart wide open,” BJ says. “Sometimes we have so much fun together!”
How can this be? How can Gloria an BJ be having fun? How can they be joyful in the midst of disease and debilitation? Essentially, it’s about attitude.
“Whatever life hands us, we just gotta make the best of it,” BJ comments to FB friends. “When Mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s 10 or 12 years ago, we experienced the initial shock and dismay. But once we got past the ‘oh shit’ reaction, we moved on to, ‘OK, this is happening so we’ll just deal with it as it unfolds.’ I had heard the horror stories about Alzheimer’s, so I thought the disease would wipe out my mother’s personality and turn her into a vegetable. But that hasn’t happened. She is completely paralyzed but inside that old frozen wrinkled body, Gloria is still alive and well. Lucky me. Lucky her. Everyone’s journey with Alzheimer’s is different – and part of it is how the patient and the family deal with it. Mom and I, we just look for the blessings.”
You said it BJ!
Like Gloria and BJ, Mom and I looked for the blessings, and we found many among the challenges and tears. I hope you will too <3
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