After a flying weekend to Ohio to see my mom for Mother’s Day I know it will take me a couple of days to recuperate. It always does. If you know anything about stress you can understand what I mean.
While it is truly wonderful to be able to go see her it takes a toll. This trip was no different. When I saw her at first on Friday evening she was vague and quiet. No longer the chatterbox of years ago she has retreated inside herself a bit. Talking was much more difficult for her than even the last time I visited in early April. Changes happen quickly it seems as she progresses through the various stages of dementia.
She gets frustrated because the words get all jumbled up and don’t come out correctly. She knows in her head what she wants to say and then because she can’t formulate the correct words she calls herself a dummy. I tell her that her brain just is not working like it used to and remind her of all of the things that she used to do to show her that she is indeed a very smart lady. But then she doesn’t remember those things and I have to try another tactic to distract her and make her happier.
She still wants so badly to be independent. The call button with the sign on it to always use it when she gets up is a joke. She points to the sign and laughs about it. I tell her it is because they worry she will fall and hurt herself and she insists that she is fine. I know one of these days we will get that exact call.
So many of my readers have been asking about my mom and following on the dementia journey. I have friends who are going through similar things with their own parents. It’s a club but definitely a club no one wants to belong to. But if I can help one person by writing a few blog posts I am glad. If I can share that we are all in this together it will be a good thing. If I can connect with one person and offer encouragement – my words are written for a purpose.
It’s not an easy journey but one that takes time and patience and sometimes lies and half truths which is probably the most difficult thing of all. As I listened to a daughter across the hallway continue to correct her mom and tell her she was wrong about a memory I cringed. It just agitated her mom more. My approach with my mom is to be vague and say “Well maybe so! I will have to check on that and get back with you.” And then try to change the subject. For someone who places high value on truth telling it is extremely difficult.
The moments that I see glimpses of my “real” mom are getting fewer and fewer so I cling to them when they occur. And I rejoice that I could spend one more Mother’s Day with her when so many of my friends can no longer do that. This week is a busy one coming up so I will be distracted and hopefully not dwell on the sadness that inevitably comes after a visit with my mom.
Coming up on the blog this week will be a week of posts sharing pictures from my birthday trip to the beach. Great memories and some fun pictures to share with you. Come back and don’t forget to Comment for a Cause for Wounded Warrior Project.