Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Sad about Mom

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.


  1. Every time I saw her at your house her adoring spirit was evident. She is blessed to have you.

  2. I love you how you love your momma and I'm sorry you miss her while looking right at her sweet face. I am here for you, and whatever painful things you face we will get through it... and you can complain about your mom's ever-changing (dis)abilities to me and I will know the truth of how much you love her.

  3. she is one exceptional lady and, indeed, you are her daughter.
    I can only try to imagine how heart breaking must be to see her fading.

  4. I wish I knew that mom, too. But I am glad so many of her best features are still going strong in you, her strong and wonderful daughter.

    I also can't believe she is 83. She does not look or move like someone who is 83.

  5. This is so hard, Sage. I admire how you keep in touch with your love and respect for your mom, while trying to handle the reality of now.

    Bless you. Bless her. I too can't believe she's 83.


  6. Hey
    I knew Aunt Nancy when she was all that you describe. For all those who have only known her recently, I can vouch for all that you've said. As recently as 3 years ago she had total control over her life and work.

    Alzheimers is in many ways the cruelest end. It helped me with my Dad to think of him as two people. The brilliant, creative man who raised me. And the dear, child-like person he became. I could grieve the former while still caring for the latter.