To the editor:

A mid-life orphan speaks out:

Being 48 isn’t so bad except for becoming an orphan. Daddy died seven years ago as I administered CPR an mouth-to-mouth. Shortly thereafter, my Mama began her descent into Alzheimer’s world. I am tired of this enduring agony.

Parkinson’s I thought was the worst diagnosis ever. It was intolerable watching my fiercely independent daddy, Lonnie Hood, being forced into the indignity of PD, but he did his best to cope. Although he only possessed a third grade education, he earned his “Life Experience Degree,” leaving his childhood behind at 8 years old to help support his family. working as a sniper for Uncle Sam in the Korean War (not conflict), keeping a full time job for 30 years (IH/JI Case) and sometimes taking a second job to earn more money. He retired with a pension and benefits package unheard of nowadays. Daddy was a wise man who went to heaven when he was only 74 and I was 41.

Alzheimer’s is much worse. Mama and I have been such good friends who shared a deep respect an admiration for each other. Mama knew important stuff; God’s Love, The Bible and how to be a good wife and mother. My caring friends said it was too difficult for me to keep her at home, but I was stubborn and wouldn’t listen. Watching Mama be erased like a drawing on a page and replaced with someone I don’t know is excruciatingly painful. Her move to the nursing home shattered my heart, my soul and even my mind with grief. Ina Jo Hood was my best friend. I miss her and the love and affection that was once mine. Alzheimer’s robbed me of Mama and forgetfulness and misperception of facts brought hurtful accusations against me which seems to have resulted in her belief that I am evil incarnate. I find myself being drawn to little silver-haired ladies who remind me of who she was at one time. I am just a mid-life orphan seeking a patch to cover the gaping hole in my heart that Mama once filled. Are you asking, “Why is she telling me this?”

Listen carefully, children of aging parents: Please appreciate, respect and love your parents. Visit them, really listen, ask questions and take notes. Thank them for being there for you and while you’re at it, thank God you still have them!

Linda Duncan