The Mighty Logo

Letting Go of the Life I Pictured After My Mom's Alzheimer's Diagnosis

The most helpful emails in health
Browse our free newsletters

After my mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, I spent a lot of time feeling sorry for myself.

All I thought about was what I had lost and what I would never have. All the things my mom and I would no longer be able to do and all the things we would never get the chance to do in the first place.

Being 25 at the time, I had just started to build an adult relationship and friendship with my mom. We had just started to repair all the damage from those dreaded teenage years.

I felt like that relationship and friendship had just been pulled out from under me. I felt like her Alzheimer’s diagnosis was the death of our relationship as mother and daughter, or a relationship of any kind for that matter.

Our life, our future, our relationship was going to become so far from anything I had ever pictured in my mind. If I couldn’t have that picture, then what the hell was the point? Why even bother?

What I failed to see at the time was a very different, but equally beautiful alternative to that picture. A very different, but equally beautiful new kind of relationship with my mom.

As the years went on, I began to see small glimpses of that alternative picture and that new kind of relationship with my mom. It was something I had never considered before, but once I saw it I realized it was most definitely worth creating a different picture.

I had a choice to make. I could either throw away our entire relationship and make very little effort because it wasn’t the way I had always pictured it, or I could jump all in and paint a different picture.

I think you know which one I chose.

It’s hard. It takes constant daily effort to change your perspective, but I promise it’s worth it.

You might not get that idyllic picture you’ve always had in your mind, but you might get an equally beautiful and probably more meaningful one instead.

At some point, you have to let go of the life you pictured and start living the one you’re in.

If for no other reason than that you might deeply regret it when your loved one is gone.

Don’t focus on everything you have already missed out on. Focus on everything you will continue to miss out on if you don’t paint a different picture.

Don’t wait until it’s too late, friends.

Grab a brush and start painting.

Originally published: November 20, 2020
Want more of The Mighty?
You can find even more stories on our Home page. There, you’ll also find thoughts and questions by our community.
Take Me Home