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.
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Prayers for you and your family! My mom spent the last three years or so in a nursing facility, so I understand that part. Mom had her mental faculties right up til the end, but she lost all use in her arms and legs. It’s difficult either way. But you’re brave to share your feelings here. I’m sure that will help others, and hopefully helps you a little, too. I’m looking forward to your posts about your birthday beach trip.
Thank you so very much. You understand how it is to see a loved one kind of trapped in their body and not be able to do what they used to do. It is tough but a part of life. It does help me to write it down and I don’t mean for it to be a sad thing – just a way to share a different part of life. Thanks as always for reading.
I do love the picture of you and your sister with your mom. I am sure she was pleased to have both of you there with her. This was a good post. I too have learned to just agree or be vague with mom and not argue. It has taken me awhile to learn. It s not easy but we need to be there for them now as they were there for us all those years. Sending hugs. xo
It definitely took me awhile to learn that as well and I still sometimes say “remember” and then I catch myself and rephrase it. She is doing well where she is at and has a lot of people who love her and care for her while we can not be there so that gives me peace.
I feel the same as mom is being so well looked after. The staff at her care home are definelty angels and I am so thankful for them. xo
Happy Mother’s Day! Your words will be as comforting to others as your Mom’s fleece blanket. Thank you
Thanks so much! That fleece had to be a gift from someone but we aren’t sure who at this point. She is always cold and the wind was blowing a bit that day around the little lake so we bundled her up. 🙂
Beth Ann, thank you for sharing your struggles and strategies. You are so right about not trying to correct her anymore. It really doesn’t help. I think all a person can do is spend the time that you can with her and remember how she was and will be again in heaven. Bless you!
I think just spending time with our loved ones is what we need to do the most. Chris is always so supportive of encouraging me to go and be with her. Since both of his parents are dead now I think he realizes that there is never too much time that can be devoted to our families.
Sending you a big hug! I know it isn’t easy, but you will not regret these trips to see her , even if she isn’t the same mom! I love her bright pink blanket and I know she loved having you there!
Thanks, Katy! It was so good to be with her and to spend 3 days with her at different times. That is a true gift and one that I will cherish.
Lovely pictures! Thank you for sharing this difficult journey with us. Sending big hugs!!!
Kimberley, Thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment. It is a difficult journey but she is being well cared for and is safe and loved. That is priority and I think we have accomplished that.
Oh Beth I hurt for you. Our time with our parents gets shorter and shorter as the days and months go by. I wish we didn’t have to go through this but that’s what family is all about. Taking care of each other in all stages of life!
Thanks so much, Joanna. It has been such a journey and so many are on the same journey. I love my mom so much and while it is difficult to see her trapped with this disease the mom I know is still there so I rejoice in the fact that I can still be with her!
I’m sorry your mom and family have to go through this. On the other hand I’m glad you and your sister were able to be with your mom this weekend. It looks like a good place she’s in. In her way I’m sure she was glad to see you both. Huge hugs.
Thanks, Dawn. It was so good to be with family –my brother and sister in law came and visited with us on Sunday so it was just a fun family filled weekend. She was glad to see me and I must admit I got a little teary upon leaving her but she is in a good place with good staff taking care of her so I feel at peace with that.
A great gift that you were able to spend another Mother’s Day with your sweet Mother. For you and her. She has such a sweet and gentle face, I love the pictures. I know it is hard on you, Beth Ann, but thank you so much for using your blog about your Mother illness to help others.
It was the best gift ever for both of us, Shirley. I love my mom and I know that she loves me–she wasn’t quite sure of my name this time but when I left for the airport she hugged me tight and told me how much she loved me. That is what I will carry in my heart.
Happy belated mothers day to you and Helen. I love hearing how she’s doing and seeing these photos.
It can’t be easy to lose independence. She’s such a trooper. Love you two.
Thanks, Jeni. WE had a nice weekend. Unfortunately last night we got a call she had fainted and fallen and hit her head. She was okay but definitely going to keep an eye on her and make sure nothing else is going on. I am sure she was embarrassed and upset over it and hopefully they were able to calm her a bit. The staff is really wonderful so I know they do all they can with their residents. Sending love to you as well.
Just give yourself time Beth Ann. Take time to rebuild your resources.
Thanks, Judith. I kind of crashed yesterday afternoon–took a long nap and didn’t really do much of anything. It dos take awhile for me to rebound these days from a visit. I can’t imagine being a full time caregiver at this point. I guess I could do it but boy—do I ever have admiration for those that do!
I surely can understand the need to recoup after your trip, Many years after my mom passed away, her best friend had a stroke which necessitated her being in a care facility. The stroke left her able to talk but she couldn’t get the right words out when she tried to converse with us, so she would get so frustrated by that. When I visited her and she tried so hard to tell me something but couldn’t, she would just shrug her shoulders and say, “Oh, you know!” And even though I absolutely had no idea what she was trying to tell me, I would nod my head and say, “Yes, I know.” It seemed to comfort her.
Sounds like you were of great comfort to your mom’s best friend–it is not always an easy place to be and it is difficult to know what to say sometimes but sometimes just being there is the best thing. Thanks for sharing.
We will continue to keep Helen on our family’s prayer list. Thanks for sharing your journey with dementia so we all can learn more.
Thank you so much, Val. I know you have your own health issues in your family and it is tough, isn’t it? But knowing that others are supporting and praying for us makes it so much better.
My heart goes out to you. I am sure that your posts are definitely helping others. Remember to take care of you at this time. Your honesty here is so raw, so poignant. I will keep you both in my prayers.
Thank you so much. Each time I leave her I am just a little bit sad because I am not sure what our next visit will be like. But I am so happy that I am able to see her as often as I can and that my husband is always telling me to just go and be with her. That in itself is wonderful.
My heart goes out to you as you walk this painful road. <3
Thanks so much Gibber. Good to hear from you — I have missed a lot of my old blogging buddies that I have lost track of. If you are still blogging I am checking out your blog again!
Anytime I’m not blogging atm. 🙂
Oh dear friend, I know. And you are walking this walk so bravely and with so much love – as you do everything! So thankful that you have siblings to walk with you. As much as I miss the mother my mother used to be, I also realize that I love this vague, memory lacking lady that she is now. And when, on the very very rare times, that she shares a glimpse of who she used to be, it is such a gift. Love you my friend; your mom is blessed to have you!