Pretty in pink

After my guilty Sunday, I visited Mom before lunch on Monday. I found her on a couch near her room with Mr. R. They were just sitting, not being overly affectionate, at least at that moment. As I walked toward them, I heard Mom say to him, “There’s my daughter.” She doesn’t always know that I’m her daughter. She might not have known my name. But I was impressed at the nonchalant way she said that. I bent over to hug her and sat in a chair near Mom’s side of the couch.

I asked how she was doing, and she seemed to be just a little off, as if she were remembering a negative interaction or experience but couldn’t articulate what it was. Someone was mad at her, she thought. She made mention of the hairs on her chin, so I got out my tweezers and plucked away for a little while. She did have pretty significant growth going on there. So it took a little while. She still tried to talk from time to time, which interfered with my plucking. She looked at Mr. R and asked him if he was mad. And he said yes. And she said, “Oh, I didn’t know that.” And I thought he might be mad that I was there, taking Mom’s attention away from him.

I had brought in a stack of clean short-sleeved shirts to swap out for Mom’s winter clothes. I told her I’d be in her room for a little while, cleaning her closet. I pulled a hamper out of the bottom of the closet and filled it to the brim with sweaters and fleece shirts and other items with long sleeves. I left a few lighter long-sleeved shirts. I organized the clothes on the hangers, putting pants together, and short-sleeved shirts, and long-sleeved shirts, and then a few jackets. Mom’s winter coat and raincoat are still tucked into the corner. I put hats and gloves on the top shelf and her few pairs of shoes on the floor. She wears only Crocs, and only pink Crocs these days, but I am keeping the other shoes in her closet anyhow.

When I came back out, she and Mr. R were still sitting. A staff member chatted with me a little bit, and told me she had hung up the poster I had made for the research project Mom was in – a series of photos of important people in Mom’s life. I had been in her room for about 20 minutes and didn’t even notice the poster, I was so absorbed in getting her clothes situated. I thanked the staff member for that. When I saw Mom sitting there, it occurred to me I hadn’t taken a photo of her for awhile, and I liked that she was wearing a pink shirt, pink pants and pink Crocs.

Mom in her pink shirt, pink pants and pink Crocs. Mr. R is next to her, but I don't think it would be appropriate to show his face without his son's permission.

When the staff member saw me taking this, she offered to take one of Mom and me together.

Behind me is the door to Mom's room. She doesn't spend time in there unless she is sleeping. The aide insisted that Mom smile, and it worked.

Before long, a staff member called Mom over to a table for lunch. Mom followed those instructions and seemed to forget about me and Mr. R until she was seated. And then I went over to her and let her know I would be leaving so she could eat. And then she spotted Mr. R in the distance, and she went over to him and stood over him, whispering to him. He came toward the table and got his lunch, too. I went to kiss Mom goodbye and she opened her mouth – not so much for a kiss, but as if she might take a bite. I thought she might be confused between the food in front of her and me swooping in for a kiss without warning. I backed away and we both laughed. And then we had a proper little kiss goodbye and I told her I would see her in a few days.

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8 comments so far

  1. Julia on

    Cute pictures, esp. like the one of you and your mom. Glad she didn’t actually take a bite out of your face! 🙂

  2. Sherri on

    You and your Mom look great!

  3. viki on

    Nice photo!–You look great- in your prime.

  4. momsbrain on

    Thanks, all. I need to remember to remind Mom to smile when I take her picture. It brightens her face so much.

  5. Jennifer on

    Guilt! I deal with this everyday. I went from living within walking distance of my Mom for many years/decades to living halfway across the country.

    I’ve started writing (I am not a writer) about my Mom’s past. It has brought some comfort to me. Her grandchildren only know the Grandma of the past 20 to30 years. It’s pretty cool to hear their comments and have them see her in a different light.

    I love the picture of your Mom and You. Very cool. The crocs crack me up. I’m not a fan of crocs but I can see (having had situations with my Mom) where it would be helpful to be able to easily wash shoes.

  6. momsbrain on

    Hi, Jennifer – I think I should write more about my mom’s past because I’m afraid I will forget things. I am planning a post, actually, about recent memories some of her friends have shared with me. Small things, but glimpses of her past that are nice. Anything that brings comfort is worth writing about, I’d say! Thanks for the comment.

  7. Pat White on

    Emily,

    I enjoyed your recent article Pretty in Pink. I especially enjoyed the photos. I liked your mom’s happy smile!

    Your special way of sharing your feelings about your mom’s illness and how it affects you is an encouragement for me to do the same for myself.

    I just want to affirm the way you are managing your time with your mom. What I see you doing is trying to make sure your visits with your mom are quality time and not driven by ‘shoulds’.

    With my best, Pat

  8. momsbrain on

    Hi, Pat – it’s funny, one of the first categories I came up with for this blog was “all about me.” It is helpful for me to write about how I feel about Mom and when I’m with her. Just as I think there is no shame in what she does as a person with dementia, I don’t feel shame about (most of) my feelings. They are what they are. Thank you for the comment!


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