I want her back…

Last night we went over to my mom’s to play games. It’s something we’ve done for years–long before my dad died.

My mom lives in a nursing home, in the assisted living section. It’s been a good move for her–her friends were all there, and it was a place where she could be safe.

She still plays the game reasonably well. There’s some mistakes periodically–but at almost 91 years of age, those are allowed.

The bigger problem is the dementia we’re seeing develop. I don’t know how much longer she’ll be able to stay in her assisted living apartment. Right now she’s okay as long as nothing throws her routine, but down the road I can see a move to skilled nursing.

Yesterday afternoon when I called her to remind her that we were coming over (something we need to do regularly–and then she doesn’t always remember), I felt like I was in the Abbot and Costello conversation “Who’s on First?”

Our conversation went like this:

Me: Mom, Aunt D’s back in town so I just wanted to remind you that we’ll be over for games tonight.

Mom: Oh, that’s lovely! But I don’t know if Dorothy’s back in town…

Me: Yes, we just talked to her yesterday, and she’s back in town.

Mom: So will Dorothy be here?

Me: Yes, we’ll all be there.

Mom: Have you talked to Dorothy?

Me: Yes, that’s how I know she’s back in town.

Mom: Oh…Dorothy’s back in town?

Me: Yes, she got back yesterday.

Mom: I’ll be glad to see you. Will Dorothy be coming?

Me: Yes, Mom. Aunt D will be there.

Mom: Oh, she’s back in town?

You get the idea!

I think watching her slip away bit by bit is the hardest part of watching her age. Sometimes I rage at God–I don’t want to lose her mentally before we completely lose her. But I can’t control that.

I want her back…want the mother who was always on top of things…the woman who was a stronger woman than she gave herself credit for. I want back the mother who engaged in intelligent conversations about what she had read…the people she had visited with.

But that’s not what I have now. I have a mother who is sometimes fearful because she can’t always make sense of what is going on…who at times knows that she’s losing her mental sharpness…who will read the same couple of pages in the same book for a month and still not know that she’s read any of it…who is really cocooning herself in her room and not attending activities she always used to enjoy.

I try to enter into her reality–good advice my cousin gave me. But it is so hard–especially when at times I’m not sure where the entrance is into that reality.

I want her back…but I know that’s not possible.

So I guess what I really want is to have the patience to love her and mother her as she loved and mothered me when I know I drove her nuts.

4 thoughts on “I want her back…

  1. Its really difficult my granddad had dementia. He didn’t realise my dad was his son towards the end but saw him as his best friend, although at the time we were hurt by this now my dad is really glad he stuck by him and had the patience because he got to know his dad differently, as a real friend who my granddad trusted with his life. He would often get confused but all you had to say was ‘Kevin will sort it’, and he would relax after that because however bad his memory was, he knew who was always there. Hope this helps.

  2. Yes, love and love and more love.
    And then cry and rage and all those other emotions all over the support group (you are going to one, right???) and family and friends as they are able to listen.

    This is hard, so hard and you are doing it with as much love and grace as is possible.

    So much love from me to you so you have more for Auntie Helen…

  3. I agree with starwyse. I have been in that conversation you had more times than I want to remember with my mother-in-law. All you can do is remember that they have no idea what they are doing. Prayers for you as you face this challenge. It is not an easy task, but you are doing it with love and grace. It is all you can do. Hang in there!!


  4. I understand some of the pain and frustration you are feeling with your mother. My mother in law suffered from demensia too and died after several years of care in our home. She too was a strong and self reliant woman, very active in church and with family. At least your mother is safe and has top notch care at her facility. she also is lucky to have your love and attention. – Claude –

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