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Life Still Standing

The two things that help Dorothy Well, 80, channel her past are the diary her mother kept before falling into dementia and her father's home in Stewart, Ohio.

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Dorothy Well:

My mothers mind just sort of got weaker, she couldn't remember exactly how to cook something, or maybe she lost things she put away. And as this progressed, of course she did think to write down some memories for us, and so she wouldn't forget them cause maybe tomorrow she wouldn't know what she did today.

I have this list of memories of my mothers and I also have this house that is very old that my father owned. He liked raising the cattle, he liked owning the house that was a lot of it.

That house was built by somebody's hands not machinery like you would use today. The bricks were built there on the farm and baked there by the sun and stayed firm enough put together to build a house. In spite of everything else, that lasted, that stayed there.

My mother and father's life together was a little rough maybe had some agreements and disagreements and finally they couldn't make it together so they separated and life was different then. I remember when we were leaving my father was on the floor crying, he couldn't understand I guess why she was leaving and he didn't understand that all he was doing was making it hard for her.

As he was a young man he liked to drink a little and alcohol kind of bothered him and he still struggled with that problem. Ended up he let up on the drinking a lot and he ended becoming more like a father to me, the father I wanted him to be you know. He was always welcome at my house and he loved my children and me but didn't want to become to close to us because he was afraid of losing the people he loved, so.

She just kind of got weaker of mind, I don't know what to say, she lost things and she got real nervous about doing things. And she worried so about what was wrong and when the doctor finally told her, he didn't he didn't tell her she had Alzheimer's he to told her she had dementia. That's all that he ever told her. But, of course, she was bout sharp enough to know, but since she had trouble remembering that word we found little slips of paper all over he house that said dementia on them.

She asked me if I could get a pill for her, she wanted to take a pill. She wanted to get out of this. She didn't want to live that way.

These are what I have from my parents. Well, it means a lot to have those and to know that's a tie to my parents that I can no longer ask questions of or tell them that I love them. All I can do is think of these things and that's all I have left.

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Life Still Standing