My Mom's dementia continues to worsen.
I think she may be lonely, bored and possibly depressed.
The following is a minimally edited flow of my disjointed thoughts.
My intelligent, captivating, humorous, Mom is faded. She is unknowingly annoying and trying. She works to be helpful to the family and still is able to do so by doing laundry and the dishes, with occasional mishaps. She makes the same inquiries every few minutes. I don't even try and converse with her. It is too difficult as she can't undertsand the point I am trying to make or has no ability to recall prior information into the conversation. The kids both enjoy and resent her presence. I am left to mediate between her often well intentioned comments and behavior and the rude and sometimes angry responses of my kids and husband. I am horribly ashamed to admit that I, too, am often short and rude with her. Something she never was with me.
I don't think anyone who reads this ever really knew the beauty of her.
Mom was a new near genius intellect. She never completed college and yet she was one of the most intelligent women I know. She worked as a budget analyst. Before retiring she was the Budget Analyst for the entire naval air station of Miramar in San Diego. No small feat. She was quick witted and thoughtful. She lived all over the country as well as in Japan and France. She loved to travel. Her support and her home were a haven for a few of my teen friends who lacked such warmth in their own homes. Until she moved up here a few years ago, she was still the house little kids wanted to go to play. She has a wonderful way with kids of all ages. Something I clearly inherited from her. She was independent an swore she never wanted to be a burden to anyone. She put me thru college and graduate school. She postponed retiring until 67 or 68 in order to do so. My Dad has never given me a penny. (With the exception of a nice sum of money to help with my wedding.) She can still do the New York Times crossword puzzle in a heartbeat. She use to knit beautiful, intricate sweaters for me. She loves her animals. She loves me and my kids and would go to the end of the earth for us. She taught me I could do anything I wanted to and I believed her. She gave me unending support and love. She was humble. Maybe too much so. She had friends who were educated, undeducated, gay, straight and a variety of ethnic backgrounds. Impressive really, for a women who is 83.
So I know it easy to look at her now and my crazy life and think I need to put her in a home. But now you may better understand how hard that is.
And how painful my own and my families frustration with her is. How guilty I feel.
Professionally and spiritually I know that in terms of being with her it is about enjoying the moment you are in. This feels hard when it I don't make the time to just be with her in her moment and space. I need to recognize that it will be the same comments it always is. Not to cringe at the repetition of her comments about how pretty the flowers are, the nice color that car is, or how unusual the clouds.
She was the Mom most women wished they had. I am who I am because of her.