Is it weird I call you Mother? I used to call you Mommy when I was little but somewhere along the way I guess I figured that that was not cool for a teenager and so I started to call you Mother just like you called your own mom. I guess it works and it fits but I am not sure if it really shows how much you mean to me. Mother sounds kind of cold. Mom sounds warmer to me for some reason.
If truth be known I need to call you Mommy these days because I need comforted a little bit.
You are gradually slipping away from me. It is a slow progression but it is coming and I am fearful of the day when you no longer know who I am. I am praying that that day does not come but I am realistic enough to know that dementia is taking you from me.
You are aware that your memory is flawed and perhaps that is the most difficult thing. You know that there are gaps but what you don’t know is that some of your memories or thoughts are just downright incorrect and imagined.
I have learned to not try to explain things to you like I used to. Reasoning does not help and if anything it makes matters worse and you get agitated. So I agree, fully knowing that you are not aware of the reality, and encourage you to move on to another topic that might be a happier one for both of us.
I have learned not to say “remember” to you. I have learned to focus on positive things, to quickly turn a conversation around by changing the subject and focusing on something going on in my life instead of relentlessly asking you how things are with you. It seems selfish of me to do this and it is out of character for me but it makes you happier and that is the goal.
All I ever wanted when you moved out of your villa at Copeland Oaks was for you to be happy. Your hurting hip limited you and once you had the hip replacement I had high hopes that you would thrive in the assisted living setting, make friends, do activities and live a full life.
Unfortunately dementia has robbed you of that and we are once again faced with a move – now we will be moving you to a memory care unit. It breaks my heart and if you knew what was ahead it might break yours as well. I defer to the staff and their expertise and they believe it is best to not tell you until the day of the move so you don’t fret. I can’t wrap my head around that, I admit. I have my doubts. My heart still wants you to know ahead of time and be okay with it but I suspect that you won’t be. Your mind just does not work that way anymore and you won’t be able to understand that this is what makes sense now.
I love you so much. You have been such a wonderful mother and friend to me over the years. Of course you took wonderful care of me when I was little and I have such lovely memories embedded in my own memory of life with you. You nurtured and loved me and helped to make me the person that I am today. For that I am grateful.
What I remember in our recent past was when I started to make it a priority to spend time with you. Somewhere along the way after I stopped working I realized that these were times I just needed to make happen. When I moved to Iowa I realized that it was important for me to spend time with you and to really make an effort. So I did and I have. We have had some great adventures over the years. I would come and visit you and spend 5 days or more with you at a time and we would find all kinds of things to do. We made memories. I cherish those.
Our visits are a bit shorter now. You get tired and overwhelmed much easier and when I visit I have to be careful to not try to “do” everything for you. I have to remember that I am just there to spend time with you. I am not there to “fix” things or to do a big project of cleaning up your closet. I am there to just be with you.
I am sad I am losing you bit by bit. But grateful, oh so very grateful, that I still have the physical you to hug and be with. I am so grateful that every time we talk you tell me how much you love me and how proud you are of me. Little ole’ me.
Well, guess what? I am pretty doggone proud of you as well and even if you don’t realize it now you continue to be a pretty amazing woman. Dementia won’t ever take that away.
Happy Mother’s Day. I love you.