Using Senses to Guide Yourself Through the Fog

My mom has Alzheimer’s.

Carol Willing


February 5, 2013

My mom has Alzheimer’s. Sometimes I wonder what she sees and thinks about her world. She only has about four phrases that she uses now. It is heartbreaking for me to no longer be seen and recognized by her. Yet, she smiles, hums to music, snuggles her blanket, and enjoys her orange chicken as if all is okay in her world. I believe that she is happy and content. As her world became foggier and less familiar, she found a way to make peace with the changes. As different cognitive skills left her, she embraced the simple joys that her senses still brought. Hearing a song from the 50s. Smelling a favorite cookie baking. Touching a big teddy bear. Savoring the taste of a newly found chocolate (an old favorite yet new to her each time). Seeing a sand crane flap his wings gave her moments of entertainment and wonder. Somehow the simplicity of these familiar senses created joy and peace as her complex brain began to break down.

I have no idea what the future holds for me. Yet, I am comforted that, just as my mother, I will use my senses to guide me through life and all its uncertainty.

So what does the complex world of software development with its many languages and acronyms have to do with Alzheimer’s? If one peels back the confusion around operating systems and varying ways to accomplish a task, good software makes sense. It becomes simpler and less complicated. It proves to be familiar and beautiful as it changes just like my mother’s senses.

As I continue to follow my passion and interest in writing software and building things, I plan to take enough time to admire the beauty, history, and art in the world around me. I also intend to share my  interests with the next generation of problem solvers and lovers of creativity.

It is not the clear-sighted that lead the world. Great achievements are accomplished in a blessed, warm mental fog. – Joseph Conrad