Lost in the parking lot

I’m pretty sure Mom has started to dress herself again. There are a couple of hints. One, her bedroom is a mess. Clothes are scattered all over her bed. Disposable underwear, clean and dirty, are on the bed, on the bathroom floor, on the bedroom floor. And then there is what she was wearing on Sunday: three T-shirts stacked one over the other, gray fleece pants and about five necklaces and even more bracelets on her left arm. She also had pink cheeks again, as if she put some lipstick on them to give them some color. Of course, she looks adorable. Why she is layering T-shirts, however, I’m not sure.

I found her in the lobby with the gals on Sunday afternoon. She had her dog with her. She no longer carries her purse around. It used to be such a Bonnie trademark – a yellow purse. But now she just has the dog with her. I sat in the one remaining seat in the lobby and chatted with everyone for a little bit. I then told Mom I wanted to check her apartment and that she could just stay in the lobby. Which was fine with her.

The apartment was in some disarray, as described above. It kind of irritated me, which is ridiculous. Mom doesn’t do this to irritate me, or the housekeeper, or anyone else. I imagine she is in full confusion mode when she is trying to manage her clothes. I just threw all the clothes I found into the laundry basket. It certainly will not hurt for them to be washed even if they are clean. I don’t think Mom is actually sleeping on her bed so I didn’t work too hard to completely clear it. There were a couple of blankets messed up on top of the comforter along with the clothes.

It also appeared that Mom had gone on an eating binge. I found a few empty cookie containers on the kitchen counter. The box of chocolates my aunt had brought last Tuesday was empty, sitting on the table. Another box of chocolates from Valentine’s Day, which had been in the refrigerator, was empty on the counter, as well. There was one empty cookie packet on the bed, next to some crumbs. I threw away all these empties. Finally, there was Easter basket grass trailed around the living room and bedroom from a cute little basket someone had brought Mom on Easter. I think a friend might have brought it to Mom. I never knew the source. Mom apparently had eaten the jelly beans from the basket, too. I threw away all the grass and put the basket on the counter. I hope all the trash stayed put. I also picked out an outfit for Mom for after her Tuesday shower. Satisfied that the place was less of a disaster for the housekeeper’s visit on Monday, I went back to the lobby to sit with the ladies.

I chatted with everyone for a little while but I didn’t stay long. I had a little stomachache and wanted to get grocery shopping done so I could relax a little. Mom seemed content where she was. When I said I should leave, she got up to walk me to my car. She said, “Oh, I think I pooped my pants a little. It’s wet.” I suggested we go to her apartment and remedy this situation immediately. When we got there and removed her pants, she had on no underwear at all – another sign she is dressing herself. I didn’t see signs that she had actually pooped in her pants, but I sent her to the toilet to do whatever she needed to do and put those pants in the laundry for safety’s sake. I put some underwear and a new pair of pants on Mom, plus new socks to replace the socks with holes she was wearing. As we were standing in the living area, she leaned toward me, but I was already on my way to pick up my purse and head out. She said, “I was going to kiss you.” I went right to her and told her she could kiss me now. This is new, but also old. For most of my life, I have kissed both of my parents hello and goodbye rather than hugged. When Mom got sick, for awhile we had no real habit for greetings and departures. Gradually, I started hugging her goodbye. Now, she wants to kiss me. And I like that.

She walked me to my car, which was parked slightly outside the usual visitor area so I could keep it in the shade. Mom and I kissed goodbye. I pulled away from my spot and looked out, and Mom was walking toward my car. She was confused because she had two choices, a straight sidewalk or a curved sidewalk, to take to get to the door. I drove so I was up against the straight sidewalk and told her to use it to get back to the lobby. I offered to walk with her but she said I had already done so much, that she didn’t want me to do that. I watched her walk all the way to the building. She stopped once to turn around and wave to me, and I was still there, and I waved back. And she made it back to the lobby.

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5 comments so far

  1. Sherri on

    Your mention that you used to kiss your parents hello and really now have no protocol for greetings and departures with your Mom really hits home for me how it must feel to be an adult child watching a parent change and struggle so much (with my Dad’s cancer the struggle was much different). It is now so up to you to settle her world a bit – make her happy like she did for you as a kid. Have a good week :-).

  2. momsbrain on

    That’s pretty much how I see my role – make her as happy as she can be.

  3. plettahar on

    i wonder if it means something, that now she wants to kiss you? other than sort of sweet?

  4. momsbrain on

    I think of it as just another child-like behavior. I also think it’s sweet, definitely. It’s hard to know what anything really means.

  5. IcedLatte on

    What a lovely post. Nice job! The juxtaposition of your serene mom (And self, really, how do you do that?) waving goodbye and pecking kisses on you with the chaos and disarray of her apartment and her need for direction to the potty and even the front door is poignant.


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