Before you start reading this blog post PLEASE understand one thing. I do not write about my mom’s journey through dementia to make anyone feel sorry for me or to try to garner some sort of attention for myself. Quite the contrary is the actual fact. I write to remind myself that I am not alone on this journey and that my situation is much less than what many folks have to go through. I write to remind myself years later of the stages of dementia and what my mom “used” to be like. If this is not your cup of tea, if it causes too much pain and anxiety then by all means – do not read any further.
The latest things going on in my Mother’s life include falling, low Vitamin D levels and some sporadic fainting spells. We as her children (the Village) have talked long and hard about what the future looks like and what medical measures and steps should be taken. Fortunately we are all in agreement and that is a true blessing.
My latest trip to see her went fairly well and while she never said my name out loud I know she knew I was family. That is something, right? When I visited her both times during my time in Ohio my brother Mark was with me and since he sees her usually only during his once a year trip to Ohio it was somewhat of a special time
But what also is occurring is more quietness, more reluctance to join in the conversations because the words don’t come out correctly and more confusion about reality. It can be heartbreaking to watch her struggle to remember something so I have learned the “change the subject quickly” habit, as well as the talk incessantly habit. I always have been the one to probe and pull the other person out in conversations so it is a bit of a switch to try to fill in the blanks with my own words but at times I find that is what I am doing.
One of the things that my three other siblings and I did during our time together was to go through the bins and boxes of items that were stored after her last move to the Memory Lane unit. As we sorted and sorted I realized that this is actually what is usually done after a death. At times I must admit it feels almost like that. No longer can I just pick up the phone and call her to chat, to tell her what is going on in my life, to share the joys and the challenges, to just simply share with her. Those days are gone forever and while I am accepting of this stage of her life I must admit that I miss my Mommy.
But the by product of doing the sorting was actually pretty wonderful. Time with my other three siblings (and spouses), looking at pictures and memorabilia and possessions that meant something to my parents had me reeling with emotion. I realized that our lives are still intertwined with the history of our family. we are strong, we love one another and support one another in every way that we can. We are all there for my mom in whatever way we can be and that is a tribute to her for raising us to honor those relationships.
Even though the road ahead for my mom may be less than wonderful I know that we all have really great memories that we can share with her each time we visit to allow her to know that she lived a life full of meaning and worth. Even if she can’t remember it – she was a truly wonderful mother. And in the end that is all that matters to me.
Don’t forget to leave me a comment for Comments for a Cause for Friends of DuPont Forest. A new cause will be on the blog on July 1st to make sure to come back then.