Monday, March 31, 2014

The Talk

When is the right time to have "the talk"? No, not the talk your parents had with you about the birds and the bees. (I could only imagine how difficult that talk is for many parents). But the talk I'm referring to is the one you have with your parents... about letting go and dying, the final talk.


Is it too early? Is it too late? Once you say it, you can't undo it, there's no erase button. It's all about timing, will Mama understand? Will she break out into song like she always does to change a subject she doesn't want to deal with?

Mama and I had "the talk" many times over her last few years and I was never quite sure if she fully got it. I'd always get different answers, usually funny - sometimes downright depressing. 

I consider myself extremely lucky to have had "the talk" with both of my parents and I know that it made it easier for both of them to let go. All I really know is that the last time I had the talk with Mama, she must've finally gotten it and was ready. We were there with Mama and kept playing some of her favorite songs over and over. Music has always been important to us and has gotten us through a lot. We're glad that she left us while listening to the lyrics... "forget your troubles come on Get Happy..." Mama always knew how to make an exit!


Thanks for stopping by, please spread the word and follow us.
Twitter: @DementiaMama

Having Your Daily Dose of MAMA DRAMA?
Caregiver or Advocate? Show your support with Dementia-Mama-Drama products

Visit Our Shop. Click on Link Below:











Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Who doesn't like applause?

We promised Mama we'd continue her story and we've kept our promise. As we continue to develop our play "Some of These Daze" we dedicated the NYC readings to Mama.

One of the props we needed for the reading was a wheelchair. We borrowed one from a friend and it was very surreal wheeling it down the same hallway where we once lived. We'd always wheel Mama down the hallway when we brought her over for dinner from the nursing home. But this time... the chair was empty. 




Life goes on and her story continues. The readings of "Some of These Daze" really resonated with the audience. It brought tears, laughter and everyone related to it on some level... how great! We were overwhelmed by the response and we know Mama would be too! Who doesn't like the applause?


Thanks for stopping by, please spread the word and follow us.
Twitter: @DementiaMama

Having Your Daily Dose of MAMA DRAMA?
Caregiver or Advocate? Show your support with Dementia-Mama-Drama products

Visit Our Shop. Click on Link Below:












Friday, February 21, 2014

Back in NY and Ready for Her Close-Up


We're back for a visit in NYC. As we sit in our friends apartment we're continuing the journey of developing our play "Some of These Daze" about our lives with Mama. 

It's winter, it's cold, it's snowy and we got sick... what a great chance to stay in and write. We can't go out, so we gotta write! Some would be complaining about it, it all depends on your point of view. (But, lucky for us, we have a great view)!


We've returned to New York and it's also Mama's birthday, so we're celebrating. "Anna with a Z" lives on. She always loved the attention she got from our blog and was in her glory when she sang along to her Dementia-Mama-Drama channel on YouTube. She was a ham always posing for photos and it gave her a renewed spark, almost a second chance.

As we sit here coughing, sneezing and sniffling we hear people on TV and Facebook go on about the horrible winter weather. But we look out the window and know Mama is smiling down through the clouds and waiting for her play to be performed in NYC.

So yeah, it's cold and we're sick... but we're back home in NYC and Mama's story continues. Our NYC play readings are booked and we couldn't be happier. And as Mama would always say in her best Norma Desmond, "I'm ready for my close-up."

Thanks for stopping by, please spread the word and follow us.
Twitter: @DementiaMama

Having Your Daily Dose of MAMA DRAMA?
Caregiver or Advocate? Show your support with Dementia-Mama-Drama products

Visit Our Shop. Click on Link Below:













Tuesday, January 14, 2014

What The Hell Are You Talking About?

Mama always kept us on our toes during our nightly visits. We never knew what kind of mood she'd be in or what the night might bring... that's Dementia-Mama-Drama.


Vin: Hello Mama.

Mama: I'm so happy to see you!

Vin: How happy?

Mama: Very very very happy.

Vin: Well I'm glad I can make you sooo happy.

Mama: Yeah! But tonight I wanna die.

Vin: Why do you say that? That's an awful thing to say.

Mama: Aww, I'm in such pain. I just wanna cut off my hands and feet tonight. I wanna chop them off and throw them in the garbage pail and then I can finally get out of this place.

Vin: What the hell are you saying? That's crazy. Sometimes I don't know what the hell you're talking about.

Mama: That's okay, neither do I... Did you bring me any cake tonight?

Vin: Of course I brought you some cake. It's a good thing you didn't cut your hands off yet.

Mama: Oh you're such a comedian. Gimme that damn cake, I'm dying for it!

Thanks for stopping by, please spread the word and follow us.
Twitter: @DementiaMama

Having Your Daily Dose of MAMA DRAMA?
Caregiver or Advocate? Show your support with Dementia-Mama-Drama products

Visit Our Shop. Click on Link Below:














Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Remembering Mama's "Dance"

One of our most popular posts was about when I asked Mama "What's Dementia"? I thought it would be a good way to end the year remembering Mama and her special way of dancing around a question and ending with a song.

Mama and I always have had a strong bond and have always been honest with each other, we don't B.S. However, since Mama was diagnosed with Dementia... I was at a loss. Should I tell her? What do I say? How do I explain this? Did the doctor talk to her? What is the best way to talk someone I've always been honest with?

I asked Mama what she knew about Alzheimer's or Dementia. She didn't really want to talk about it. Her response was "I like what I am and that's it". Then she broke out singing to change the subject. I usually don't put her on the spot, but I just wanted her take on it during one of our nightly visits.

For those of you that can't view the video click on the link: "What is Dementia, Mama"?


Thanks for stopping by, please spread the word and follow us.
Twitter: @DementiaMama

Having Your Daily Dose of MAMA DRAMA?
Caregiver or Advocate? Show your support with Dementia-Mama-Drama products

Visit Our Shop. Click on Link Below:









Wednesday, December 25, 2013

It's Christmas - I Wanna Go Home

Mama would always make up words to songs and still sound as if she knew what she was singing about... it was an art form.

Like many with Alzheimer's, Mama would repeatedly say "I wanna go home, I wanna go home." I'd tell her she sounded like Dorothy in "The Wizard of Oz" and she'd laugh and we'd change the subject.

Seeming very appropriate, here is Mama doing one of her favorite takes on a Christmas classic, "I'll Be Home for Christmas". I know Mama would like you to listen to her, it's short. Take it away mama...


For those of you that are unable to view the video, here is the link:
http://youtu.be/Nabp2Fr34FU

Thanks for stopping by, please spread the word and follow us.
Twitter: @DementiaMama

Having Your Daily Dose of MAMA DRAMA?
Caregiver or Advocate? Show your support with Dementia-Mama-Drama products

Visit Our Shop. Click on Link Below:









Monday, December 9, 2013

Mama & Her Christmas Music


Mama loved the holidays! Any excuse for a family get together... Easter, Thanksgiving or Christmas. This will be the first Christmas we won't be together and it won't be the same. I know she'll be enjoying herself up in Heaven with her family - cooking, eating, singing and playing cards.


The two of us were similar in many ways but very different in others. We both loved to sing especially show tunes or songs from old MGM Musicals. Mama also loved Christmas music, it cheered her up and she never got tired of it. I've always disliked Christmas music, it always depressed me and got me annoyed. Christmas music changed both of our moods - hers got better, mine got worse. 

This year I'll remember Mama and how she'd light up when she heard and sang those Christmas songs. Perhaps when I hear them from now on, I can smile and maybe even sing a long thinking of Mama and her love of the music.

Thanks for stopping by, please spread the word and follow us.
Twitter: @DementiaMama

Having Your Daily Dose of MAMA DRAMA?
Caregiver or Advocate? Show your support with Dementia-Mama-Drama products

Visit Our Shop. Click on Link Below:




Friday, November 22, 2013

Let's Put On A Show...

Judy and Mickey
Mama loved old musicals, she'd be having a heck of a time if she saw how our show "Some of These Daze" was going. It reminds me of "Judy and Mickey" putting on a show together at MGM.

Douglass and I wrote a play about "Our Daily Dose of Dementia" and our life as caregivers for Mama. Our play was accepted into the Fringe Festival and we thought all we hadda do were a few rewrites, audition actors and co-direct. Well the Judy and Mickey show has turned into a Streisand project! 


We had our hands in everything. We did five rewrites, we had to play two of the roles, we co-directed, we gave our input for lighting, edited the sound and found the costumes. We borrowed the props and set, we designed the flyer and did all the "social media" to get the word out.

Everything's Coming Up Roses...
We're heading towards opening night, and can't help but wonder what Mama would be saying about this entire process if she were here. We're putting on a "Judy and Mickey" show and Mama loved them! We know she'd be having a ball throughout this whole process, she'd probably be singing along to her songs from the audience. She'd especially love this show, coz she's the star and it's all about her. And boy... she loved the attention!


Thanks for stopping by, please spread the word and follow us.
Twitter: @DementiaMama

Having Your Daily Dose of MAMA DRAMA?
Caregiver or Advocate? Show your support with Dementia-Mama-Drama products
Visit Our Shop. Click on Link Below:













Thursday, October 31, 2013

A Star is Born... Finally!

Mama had me late in life. She would always talk about how long I made her suffer during labor. She carried me for nine long months and then endured twenty seven excruciating hours in the delivery room and finally gave birth to me. She enjoyed telling this story to anyone who would listen. It was the beginning of our story together and it explains a lot! 


It's been nine months since Mama has passed. Nine long months and many excruciatingly painful times for me, not in the delivery room, but in everyday living. This time Douglass and I gave birth... to a play called "Some of These Daze" and I enjoy telling the story to anyone who would listen.

Our play is based on our life as caregivers for Mama for over ten years. Ever since we started our blog Dementia-Mama-Drama, we've created a monster with Mama! She loved the attention and the fact that people were reading about her and watching our videos of her answering questions and singing.

Writing our play was a healing process for Douglass and me. We were able to continue our nightly visits with Mama. In a way it gave us more time with Mama to laugh, play cards, sing, complain for a little while longer. We hope we can help other caregivers that are going through their own drama with their loved by sharing our story. 

Mama always wanted to be in show business and finally A Star is Born! We know she's smiling down and excited that people are gonna see the inimitable "Anna with a Z". We'd like to think she was the angel that got our play accepted into The Fringe Festival

Rehearsals have started for the show. In the meantime, here's Mama performing her signature song "Some of These Daze". Music and humor got us through it all and that's what I choose to remember about Mama and I know that's what she'd want you to remember most too. 

Thanks for stopping by, please spread the word and follow us.
Twitter: @DementiaMama

Having Your Daily Dose of MAMA DRAMA?
Caregiver or Advocate? Show your support with Dementia-Mama-Drama products
Visit Our Shop. Click on Link Below:




Monday, September 30, 2013

Out Guilting Sister Annunciata

Mama was always overprotective of me as a child. When I became her caregiver, I was the overprotective one.

I remember an incident that is typical of our relationship that took place while I was in grade school. We lived very close to the Catholic school I attended and I'd come home for lunch everyday.


One day I didn't come home and my mother went to the school to track me down. The principal told Mama that I must still be in the classroom. Mama madly marched up to my classroom. She was relieved to see me (of course she thought the worst) and was furious with the nun, Sister Annunciata. She demanded to know what had happened and why I was sitting in the classroom when I should be home eating lunch.

The nun said that some students were talking during class. When she asked the class who was talking I was the only one to raise my hand and tell the truth. My punishment was to stay in the classroom during lunchtime. This did not sit well with Mama... and she started her rant.

Sister Annunciata, you mean to tell me that since my son was the only one to tell the truth and not lie, you punish him by not sending him home to eat his lunch? You know how much he loves his food! And you punished me, scaring me half to death making me think my son died. Vincent, from now on you NEVER tell the truth, you LIE if you have to. If this is what telling the truth gets ya, it's a lot of baloney. Come home with me now, you're going to eat your lunch. And Sister, he may get back to school a little late. (Oh boy Mama was something - just like a pitbull, she didn't let go and really worked herself up). 

The nun tried calming Mama down saying that it isn't good to lie. She apologized for not calling to make Mama aware of the situation. Mama ignored the nun and won this round of Italian Catholic guilt. And I had a fabulous lunch taking my time eating, not rushing back and realizing that Mama out guilted the nun.

Mama has always been Mama Drama and has passed the genes onto me. In Mama's last few years there have been many times I behaved the same way to the doctors and nurses like Mama did to the nun. There's a little Mama Drama in all of us and it just goes to show you... somethings never change.

Thanks for stopping by, please spread the word and follow us.
Twitter: @DementiaMama

Having Your Daily Dose of MAMA DRAMA?
Caregiver or Advocate? Show your support with Dementia-Mama-Drama products
Please Visit Our Shop: Dementia-Mama-Drama Shop

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Dementia Mama Never Forgot 9/11

I'm reposting this in memory of Mama and the anniversary of 9/11.

Even as a child I never lied to Mama. Okay maybe during the teenage years when I stayed out past my curfew or answered "no, I haven't been drinking." I've always told it like it was to both my parents... even after Mama was diagnosed with Dementia over ten years ago. When problems were going on in my life, when family members died or when something bad happened, I told Mama the truth. That's the way I did it.

9/11 was no different... I felt Mama had to be aware of the tragedy. It didn't matter on what level she'd get it, I thought it was important for her to know. After all she'd be seeing it on TV and in the papers. We lived downtown in NYC and The World Trade Center was not far from us and her Nursing Home. In the first few days we weren't even allowed to cross certain streets without showing ID's - that's how close we were.

On that horrendous morning right after the towers were hit, I ran over to get Mama. I wheeled her into the middle of the empty street so she could see and hear what was going on all around us. We were able to see the flames at the top of the burning buildings. She didn't seem that interested, she just wanted to eat pancakes, but the fact was that we were there together! We'd make our daily visits to the West Side Highway by the Hudson River to watch recovery workers head downtown as we joined the crowds cheering them on.

On the anniversary of September 11th, I'd ask Mama what she remembered about the day. Her answers varied, but usually she'd remember the flames, people walking in the empty streets with no cars. It's odd how certain things remained in her mind - even with Dementia. It brings new meaning to the slogan "Never Forget".



Thanks for stopping by, please spread the word and follow us.
Twitter: @DementiaMama

Having Your Daily Dose of MAMA DRAMA?
Caregiver or Advocate? Show your support with Dementia-Mama-Drama products
Please Visit Our Shop: Dementia-Mama-Drama Shop

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Do You Have My Number?

The phone rings earlier than usual. It's the nursing home calling and I start to think the worst. What's going on this time? Is everything alright? My heart starts to race as I take a few deep breaths, pick up the phone and say hello...

Mama: Hello, Vincent.

Vin: Hello, Mama. Are you alright?

Mama: Oh yeah, I'm fine. Do you have my phone number? I called because I wanna make sure you have my number.

Vin: Yes, of course I have your number. It's the same number you've had, it hasn't changed.

Mama: Okay, and you know where I am don't you? I'm at the hospital.

Vin: Of course I know where you are.

Mama: Will I be seeing you later?

Vin: Of course, Mama. I'll be seeing you after your dinner just like I do every night.

Mama: Well then, be careful coming over and watch the street when you cross. Oh, here comes the food, I gotta go! I gotta eat dinner now... I'm starving, I hope it's something good tonight. They serve a lot of crap in this place, oh good it looks like spaghetti. Bye bye dear.

I never know what's coming next whenever the phone rings and that's why I never shut my phone off. It's another part of our roller coaster ride that takes us up and then swoops us back down. It can make us cry and sometimes it just makes us all laugh. That's our daily dose of Dementia.

Thanks for stopping by, please spread the word and follow us.
Facebook: Facebook.com/Dementia.Mama.Drama
Twitter: @DementiaMama

Having Your Daily Dose of MAMA DRAMA?
Caregiver or Advocate? Show your support with Dementia-Mama-Drama products
Please Visit Our Shop: Dementia-Mama-Drama Shop


Friday, August 16, 2013

Returning to Mama's Nursing Home... Something's Missing

My plan was to return to Mama's nursing home on the six month anniversary of her passing... it didn't happen! I've been putting off the visit for awhile and couldn't understand why I was unable to do it. I thought I'd given myself enough time.

Douglass and I wanted to spread some of her ashes at the nursing home since it was one of the few places we hadn't done it yet. Maybe it was the pressure of the final "letting go" or the panic attacks I felt on the sixth month anniversary, but I just couldn't do it. Once I realized that, I was somewhat relieved and felt less pressure. When the time was right, we would do it and not before.

Well, tonight we did it! We drove over with Mama's ashes while taking many deep breaths. We brought the camera and the iPad (just like in the old days) and wanted to keep a low profile. I wasn't sure if I was ready to deal with seeing anyone... baby steps please. Today was also meaningful for Douglass and me because we'd just submitted our script about Mama and tonight felt like the right time to return to the nursing home.

We drove up and parked in the familiar parking lot. The nursing home appeared the same... almost. Tonight it lacked even more life than I remember and there was even less energy. Like Mama would always say "this place is dead". The garden that Mama enjoyed and that we spent so many hours singing and playing cards seemed truly dead. Something was missing... I felt it was Mama's energy!

I spread some of her ashes around the garden that she loved so much during our nightly visits. Douglass and I thought about playing cards... but instead we sat in silence and took in the moment. Unexpectedly one of the head nurses saw us and came out to say hello. She was surprised and truly happy to see us. The night was very emotional, but we did it! We finally did it! Closure... party of two.

Mama was in the garden again even if it wasn't in technicolor and full of our laughter and singing. Our return brought back many memories and it was a big relief. Maybe this was our way of letting Mama know that the script was done and she was "ready for her close-up."

Thanks for stopping by, please spread the word and follow us.
Facebook: Facebook.com/Dementia.Mama.Drama
Twitter: @DementiaMama

Having Your Daily Dose of MAMA DRAMA?
Caregiver or Advocate? Show your support with Dementia-Mama-Drama products
Please Visit Our Shop: Dementia-Mama-Drama Shop