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  • Writer's pictureKatya De Luisa

Empty Shell

Updated: Oct 9, 2022

This story was recently shared.

My MIL had Alzheimer’s and for 15 or more years she had not recognized any of her children... or anyone else. She was 78 yrs. old and had fallen and broke her hip, so she had gone to the hospital. They did her surgery and sent her to a Rehab. My husband (her son) and I had gone to see her, she was asleep. We had been sitting there for quite a while when a nurse came in to check on her... After chatting with us and and finding out who we were... she went over to my MIL and said “Ruth, Ruth. Wake up. You have visitors here"...

MIL opened her eyes, and looked at my husband. The Nurse said " Ruth, do you know who this is?" MIL said " Of course I do, this is my sweet son Lawrence.".... LOL....

We all almost fell over! She talked only rarely, and never recognized anyone!... Of course, my husband hugged her, kissed her... told her how much he loved her... We left the facility to go home. Just as we got home, we received a call we should come back... quickly. All the sudden she took a turn for the worse.... and she passed away just a few moments before we arrived.

We have always considered it a miracle, and what a gift from God. What great peace it brought my husband... that after all those years, we were told "her mind is gone"..."she does not know anything" ... "she is just an empty shell " ... They were all WRONG! She knew her boy... her child...

Never, ever give up, and never believe there is no one in there. Our LO's are in there... they just cannot communicate. 🌹

I can’t tell you how many people in later stages of dementia who supposedly “Are now an empty shell” have come around and spoken. Just a few words but enough to know they are still in there. I ran communication with dementia workshops with caregivers for years and have seen these miracles first-hand.

We are all so quick to judge by outward appearances. They look like they are gone so they must be, right? Wrong. Dementia damages the brains’ ability to form thought processes and communicate in a way we understand. Usually this is with words. So how can we really know what awareness they still retain when they are non-verbal and in later stages of this condition. Isn’t it easier to just assume they are still with us?

There are many forms of communication and touch is one of the best for later stages. Hold their hands while talking to them, touch their face in a gentle caress while telling them you love them, and never say anything in their presence about anything you wouldn’t want them to hear regardless of whether they appear asleep or unconscious.

They are never an empty shell.

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