The look in her eyes is so different now...

Started by

I guess I don't have a specific question, but it's always difficult seeing my mom and that "look" in her eyes now that just isn't her. I don't know how to describe it.
That look is what ultimately brought me to the reality of mom's condition last year. Until then, I could brush off the memory lapses or odd behaviors on medications, stress, anything. When I saw that look, kind of a wild blankness, last year I knew. I thought her normal look might come back from time to time, but it hasn't.
Does this happen as a natural course of AD? Part of the long goodbye? The connections between sight and emotions now broken? She'll know my name and say she loves me, but do you think the best we can do for ourselves is accept what is and go along with what comes next on this bumpy road?


With my mom it is partially that her vision has slipped away, but that happened years before the totally blank expression settled in her face. A couple of weeks ago one of the aides at the NH was telling me that mom would smile when they were lifting her into bed and I thought she was full of it because for years mom's smiles have looked more like scary grimaces and are NEVER spontaneous. The next day I told mom what the aide had said and asked why she never smiled for me, and she did, a real smile that lit up her whole face! It took my breath away and made me want to cry.
My dad gets that look and he is in another world - i saddens me greatly. My step-mom - who visits daily gently told me that my dad in his world is not unhappy. We who know the difference are. It did help me to realize that dad's world is OK for him. He seems to be traveling back in time to his childhood - which was a happy time of working on the farm with his siblings, going fishing, etc.
The looking *through* you instead of looking *at* you was definitely a hard thing to take. You realize their brains can no longer function like they did before. Gone is the person that used to be there.
You just want to shake them and bring them back but you know you can't.

Mom doesn't seem to be upset in her world, thank God. I'm glad for that. I wish I wasn't.
Kimber, seems to work best to go into it with them, doesn't it? My other client had ALZ and was always talking about having company, driving her car (70's model), going to their house at the lake. At first and for awhile I kept trying to put her straight, but it just confused her - no point.
Ohhhh, cwillie, that made my tears flow 💜
...watching my parents slowly decline is heartbreaking.
It is soooo sad to see a loved one decline and/or become sick. Embrace every special moment you have with them. So often I wish I could stop time or go back in tome.
When my dad was in hospice care dying of cancer, he did not have ALZ, he gave me a long soulful look deep into my eyes. His eyes were piercingly crystal blue and he held the gaze for so long I knew it was a profound moment. Not a word was said between us. It was our last earthly connection and one I cherish.
My husband has Alz and he often had that look when he was living in assisted living last summer. He looked at me but his eyes were elsewhere. They were filled with emptiness and hopelessness. Almost as if he was sleeping with his eyes open. I know that is not possible, but it is difficult to describe. Very sad. Now, he is living at home again with me and I still see it once in a while. He would snap back to this world when I called out his name.
3 weeks to the day before dad passed away, his wife's/our mom's dog passed away. 18+ years for a Lhasa Apso. Tibetan legend has it that a soul of a Lama passes to the Lhasa Apso for reincarnation. We had the dog cremated. I told him I was burying the ashes to reunite the dog with mom. After actually doing so. dad finally smiled like I haven't seen him do for years. It was then that I would say was the turning point for him too. He was ready to leave on his terms, short of the a goal of 100 years old. Mom had passed away 5 years and a a few weeks to the day of both dog & dad. Dad was coherent right to the end, just couldn't beat failing and worn out body organs that weren't getting enough oxygen. Low oxygen levels and his brain was starting to die, he would've been mentally gone for as long as that process was going to take. Mom had strokes and the miracle shot drug really didn't happen soon enough for her. Like others they go back and revisit happier days in their life.
It’s devastating to see that blank look that once meant something. Her look is so transparent, as though I was never there. I feel empty and lost without my mom. I know she’s there in body, but not in mind. It only gets worse. Such a sad life, yet comforting at the same time because I know she’s in her own world and I’m ok with that. I have no choice but to accept it! For now, I’m just happy she’s still here with me!

Keep the conversation going (or start a new one)

Please enter your Comment

Ask a Question

Reach thousands of elder care experts and family caregivers
Get answers in 10 minutes or less
Receive personalized caregiving advice and support