Part of the entertainment

I went to visit Mom shortly before lunch today. It’s been a little more than two weeks since I last visited (sounds like confession, right?) – the bad visit with Laura, when Mr. R was so grumpy. It’s funny, at support group the other night, I talked about how much I resent this turn of events with Mr. R. I don’t want to change it. I know it’s good for Mom to have a companion. She is happy most of the time. She is not lonely. But I am on borrowed time with her, so I do harbor this resentment about the relationship interfering with the time I get to spend with her. At least sometimes. At least for now. And when I mentioned during the support group meeting that I hadn’t been to visit Mom for about two weeks, a woman asked me if I was punishing Mom. Um, no. I was sort of surprised by this question. I hadn’t given any indication that I resent MOM. I resent the situation and sometimes I resent Mr. R. I get along fine with this woman, whose mother also lives at the Alz center. But I give off an odd vibe, I think. I can feel very sad about Mom. Sometimes I cry when I think about this long process of losing her. But I don’t cry at support group. Or not much. What can make me cry is hearing of others’ serious pain in the early stages of dealing with the disease, or upon a loved one’s death. But when I talk about Mom, I sometimes laugh because her behavior can be funny, or I indicate I’m angry or frustrated or whatever. Not with her, ever. Sometimes with myself. So maybe I’m not a particularly sympathetic character there. I don’t know.

But anyhow, I had a good visit today. In the program area, residents were sitting in a circle for a bowling activity. Mr. R was standing behind Mom’s chair. I went over and waved hello to him and then put my face in Mom’s line of vision and said hello. She put her hand out and we sort of shook hands and she said, “I haven’t seen you in awhile.” Very true. I don’t know if she was responding to someone she considered familiar or just someone who was clearly directing friendliness to her. I took a seat behind her and offered Mr. R a chair, but he continued to stand. I talked into Mom’s ear a little bit, asking how she is doing. She would nod agreeably but not exactly answer. I rested my hand on her shoulder or scratched her back a little bit. We watched a few residents bowl. And then Meg, the activities director, asked Mom if she wanted to bowl. Mom said to her, “I’ve seen you before.” Meg took Mom’s hand and stood her up. She gave Mom the plastic bowling ball and encouraged Mom to throw it toward the plastic pins. A volunteer who took care of the pins was clapping her hands and trying to attract Mom’s attention: “Over here, Bonnie.” Mom started walking off to one side. Meg gently pulled her toward the middle of the circle so she could line up a bowling shot, but Mom resisted. I could see she was mad because she was being told what to do, albeit very gently, and for fun – to this day, though, Mom does not like that, and she expresses her disdain for anyone giving her instructions. Meg told me Mom said, “You can leave me alone now.” And then she plopped her butt into an empty chair across the room from where I was sitting. Another resident stood up to bowl.

I went to Mom’s new chair and scratched her back a little more. She thanked me. I just wanted to keep giving her some positive attention. The bowling activity was running out of steam, so Meg and another activities staff member, Vertie (sp?), decided to do some line dancing in the middle of the circle, with hopes that they would attract additional dancers from the resident crowd. They recruited me for this effort. So there we were, all by ourselves, doing the Electric Slide, the Cupid Shuffle (which I just had to Google, though I had heard the song before in a kickboxing class), and the Cha Cha Slide. During one song I went up to Mom and asked her to dance with me. She stood up right next to her chair and we held hands and just danced in place to the sounds of the Cupid Shuffle for a little while, until she decided to sit down. Meg and Vertie got Mr. R to dance with them a little bit. But that was it. Mostly, it was just the three of us. Who knew when I walked into the center today that I’d be entertaining the residents with a short dance performance.

When it was over, I told Mom I had to go back to work. “Oh, OK,” she said. Staff members were rounding up the residents for lunch, and I didn’t want to be a distraction. I hugged Mom as she continued to sit in her chair. “We’ll see you sometime,” she said. I said, “In a few days.” Mr. R seemed interested in a little embrace, too, so I took his hand and wrapped one arm around his shoulder to give him a small hug goodbye. When he is in a good mood, he is harmless like this. So I am less wrapped up in my resentment of him. Which makes me glad I visited today.

4 comments so far

  1. gemma on

    So, are you mad at your mom? Well, I’m a bit miffed at mine so I blurted out that question.

    Do you think that may have been what was going on in group?

    You always take on all responsibility! Stop it! It was a psychobabble Freud-ish question that didn’t have a dang thing to do with you, sweetie.

  2. momsbrain on

    Gemma, you certainly could be right. I also over-analyze things…

  3. JenniferJayhawk on

    Last Friday my Mom’s housekeeper called one of my brother’s and said “something is wrong with your Mom”. My brother arrived and she could not put two words together, did not know her name and thought my brother was our Dad! I am back in KC and she was released to me today. It is just a brutal situation. She can still rebound enough to make all of us miserable.

    I know your blog is not about “me” but it is always a awesome place to vent.

  4. momsbrain on

    Jennifer, feel free to vent. I’m so sorry this happened to you. It sounds scary for things to change so dramatically so quickly. I know you also are sort of double stressed with your nearby father-in-law, too… Take care.

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