The Up-Side

Romantic Heart from Love Seeds

Romantic Heart from Love Seeds (Photo credit:

I wish I could write a funny blog.  There were a few moments back in the first incarnation of this blog when I managed to come up with a chuckle or two, but then Alzheimer’s came into my life and took a lot of the humor away.  I still find plenty to chuckle about (thanks to a few friends who make sure I receive all sorts of laugh-fodder), but some days I have to work harder at it than others.  There are even a few things about Alzheimer’s itself that are funny, assuming you have a whacked-out sense of humor like mine.

What I didn’t expect, and what’s happened very recently, is the following:  much as I hate Alzheimer’s, I’ve come to love it, too.

How can that be?  Because my mother’s Alzheimer’s keeps her from knowing how messed up her family has become in the thirteen months since my father died.

Some of you are probably thinking, “What’s the big deal?  Every family is messed up.”  That’s true, to one degree or another, and God knows our family is no stranger to the MUFY (Messed-Up Family of the Year) Award.  But now we’ve outdone ourselves.  Imagine my gratitude that I don’t have to inflict any of the following on my mother:

* A squatter taking up residence in her house, brought in by the very person who lived there so squatters couldn’t get a toe-hold.  A squatter who – for now – refuses to leave and who the great laws of the State of New York seem more inclined to protect than the home-owner.
* A family member whose self-esteem is so battered that he’s taken up with a woman who’s had him arrested not once, but twice.  (With possibly more times in the future because, despite the arrests and her having helped to trash his bank account – and his dreams of working for the State Troopers – he plans to stay with her!)  The mind boggles.  I pray he gets a clue.
* One family member being sued by another.  For what doesn’t matter to this blog.  Suffice to say they are at each other’s throats, aren’t speaking, and often expect others to act as go-between.  (Nuh-uh!)
One of the above threatening to counter-sue the other.
* Rampant lack of communication, miscommunication, and a purposeful choice to not listen because egos are too big.  A preference for passive-aggressive text messages over adult conversation in person or on the phone.
* Extreme rudeness and lack of respect clear across the board.
* Constant threats of “being done” with each other forever and ever, amen.
* Someone being caught up in someone else’s turmoil when they ought to step back (for sake of their own sanity) and let the guilty parties work it out for themselves.  Or not.
* A family member sinking deeper and deeper into alcoholism (convinced, of course, that they aren’t an alcoholic simply because they hold a full-time job), who will likely lose everything they’ve worked for, including the family they once professed to love.


I look across the room at that diminished woman dozing in her chair and I’m glad none of this craziness can touch her (except, perhaps, peripherally; God, I hope it’s only peripherally).  I look at her and am profoundly grateful she has Alzheimer’s.

Who’d have thought?



About Melissa Crandall

Longer ago than I care to admit--although I will--I cut my writing teeth on fanzines and media tie-in novels. Since then, I've moved on to narrative nonfiction, speculative fiction, and essays. I write to explore and understand the world around me, the things I see and experience nearby or from a distance. If I shake myself up, cool. If I shake you up, even better. Not gratuitously--what's the point in that?--but to set what I know, or think I know, on end and realize, "Well, doesn't it look different from this side!" My work is neither sexually explicit nor graphically violent. Let's face it - your imaginations will come up with things far worse than anything I could write, no matter how descriptive. Besides, it's just not my thing. I live in Connecticut with my supportive husband Ed, a cat named Ruby who might just think she's a dog, and an epileptic Australian shepherd named Holly who isn't quite certain anymore who she is, except she knows she loves her mommy.
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5 Responses to The Up-Side

  1. Michelle Perkins says:

    sometimes when people remove themselves from the source of pain it is a survival mechanism. Especially when that person is worried about a person possibly being suicidal. Especially when that person’s genetics include suicide attempt. Just offering another swing. The pain is intense and when you feel betrayed over and over, the survival mechanism kicks in.

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