By Vincent Zappacosta
Many people have asked me how I could write “Dementia-Mama-Drama.” How could I share such a personal emotional experience that most people don’t even want to talk about. As for me, there was no choice. I had to tell our story.
“Dementia-Mama-Drama” started with me keeping notes of daily visits with Mama. I would ask her a lot of questions to see what her responses would be and to track her frame of mind. One day she questioned me about “all my damn questions.” I told her I was writing about her and our life together. She then became totally involved and wanted her story told, in fact she insisted on it… I may have created a monster.
We took photos and videotaped her during many of our visits. Sometimes she’d avoid the questions on camera and would just burst into song, she was most alive when she sang. She lived for the photos and the videotaping. Watching them over and over again brought her such joy. My notes morphed into the blog “Dementia-Mama-Drama” and it became therapy for me, my husband, and my mother. When Mama passed away I knew it was time for our story to become a book. I was so overwhelmed by it all that I had to leave it alone for a while before I could continue to write our story.
My intention with the book is to inspire caregivers and show how being creative and not always following the rules could lead to finding your own way of coping with dementia. I want the caregivers out there to know it is possible to make lemonade out of lemons, being thankful for what is rather than what was or what is going to be. Living in the moment while juggling a few hats has its rewards. It did for us.
When I started to write “Dementia-Mama-Drama” the blog, followers from all over the world were very responsive. They were connecting with us straight from the heart and the “applause” was like a boost of energy for Mama. She loved to hear all the comments. We were encouraged by people’s reactions which kept us going. It made it even more worthwhile knowing our story could touch them and they could relate to it.
I don’t have the answer or a cure for Alzheimer’s, all I know is what helped us deal with it all. We did the best we could and got through it with humor, music and a lot of love. I hope that our “Daily Doses” in the book will bring a smile, a tear, or a little hope, and help others with their own “Dementia Drama.”
About the Author
Vincent Zappacosta has been a writer and photographer ever since he was a little boy back in Catholic school. His professional background has been in theatre, yoga and graphic design. His writings as a caregiver and a strong advocate for dementia and Alzheimer’s have been published by several leading Alzheimer’s organizations. He has received national awards for his graphic design but still has room on his shelf for more. Vin and his husband Douglass Christensen continue work on “Some Of These Daze,” the play based on their experiences as caregivers for Mama Drama. Mama will finally be on the stage where she belongs.
Connect with Vincent Zappacosta
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