Growing up on ranches and around horses, my mother-in-law felt very at home on the back of a horse. She loved them, and really still does today. Western shows are her favorite shows, other than game shows and of course, the rodeo. In her mind, the drama of a cop show, or the laughs of a comedy, can’t even begin to measure up.

For me, it is very hard to imagine her in that type of life. I have been her daughter-in-law for almost 37 years now. That was all after the years that she had and rode horses. She was a skilled seamstress, could knit and crochet with the skill of a professional.  She supplemented the family income with the clothing she made and the sewing repairs she did. She also grew a garden and canned vegetables. That is the person I knew as my mother-in-law for many years. She was a capable homemaker and mother.

So much has changed since those years. Alzheimer’s Disease has take most of what she once was. These days, the knitting needles lay quietly in a box somewhere, as do the crochet hooks. They have moved to town now, so there is no more garden or canning, and she would not remember how to do those things anyway. She often talks about sewing on a button or making a shirt, but I’m sure she would not remember how to do those things anymore. She doesn’t remember how to drive, and would not know where to go if she did try to drive.

So much confuses her these days. She remembers her family on most days, but thinks that my grown daughters, who have both been married for more than 16 years and have teenaged children, should still be in high school. In fact, all of her grandchildren should be too young to be married, although most of them are married and have been for some time.

Age changes us all, but when Alzheimer’s Disease comes into the picture, the changes are so cruel. The person knows things aren’t right, but they are powerless to change the situation. It scares them sometimes, because they suddenly don’t know where they are…and they are in their own house. They don’t feel safe going places, because they no longer know where they are going, and as time goes on, they aren’t sure who is taking them, and it is their own family. Yes, everyone changes as they age, but for some people, it can be traumatic. Alzheimer’s Disease is an ugly thief…it steals it’s victims mind and eventually every other part of their body. I hope someday they will find a cure.

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