Debbie's mom, Louise Gallagher, was 70 years old, just newly retired when she was
diagnosed with Lewy Bodies Dementia in 2003. She died March 14, 2008. Debbie
writes of the progression of Lewy Body Dementia and the heartache and sorrow
that goes along with it. The journey is long, and difficult, but as she states at the
end, "never let go, just hang on for the ride of your life."
My mom was a beautiful, vibrant, educated woman who worked as an accountant
before serving the community for 16 years at our public library. She retired in
2003 at the age of 70. Looking back, there were probably signs of memory
problems long before she retired. You tend to look beyond these problems or
try not to pay too much attention to all of the “little weird things” that occur over
A month before mom retired, she was on her way home during her lunch hour
when she was broadsided by a car. Miraculously, she didn’t suffer any serious
injuries and after a series of x-rays and exams, she was released from the
emergency room the same day.
I lived with my mom in New York at the time. As soon as I brought her home, I
knew something wasn’t right with her. I couldn’t pinpoint exactly what it was, but
she was not acting like herself. I thought she might have been depressed after
the accident, but she kept insisting she was fine. She returned to work for a week
and then retired. I found out later that her co-workers had noticed changes in her
personality and work habits before the accident, during the weeks leading up to
That summer, more visible signs started to occur. My sister in Georgia was
already aware of mom’s symptoms, but we kept it between each other and our
families. We weren’t sure what the problem was, but we were extremely worried.
In fact, I was sick with worry.
Mom began buying things compulsively – something she never used to do. She
began having problems balancing the checkbook and started misplacing things.
She mailed bills with nothing in the envelopes. She