‘Sometimes I forget who I am’

Well, it appears I took a little vacation from the blog. It has been no vacation, that’s for sure. I’ve been wallowing in self-pity for the last several weeks – but it has had nothing to do with Mom. I came down with a cold, then I got a dental crown, then I had a toothache for 15 days, then I got a root canal, and then I was hit by a nasty sinus infection that really kicked my butt. I am on the mend now. Things could have been much worse – things could almost always be worse, for sure – but I just didn’t feel inclined to update the blog for awhile.

I have seen Mom a few times since I last posted. And she is doing great. My brother visited with her the week leading up to Christmas, when he was in town. He texted me some questions while he was with her, and I sent back some replies: What’s the deal with Mr. Beard? (He can appear grumpy, but he is actually extremely easy going.) Mom just got up and walked away. (Yes, she does that sometimes. It’s my cue to leave.) Christmas weekend went by, and we left town to visit Patrick’s family in Michigan. I fooled myself into thinking I would visit Mom on Christmas morning before we left. I didn’t make it. There really wasn’t time. And it’s OK, because she has absolutely no idea what Christmas is anymore. But even years into her illness, and on the fourth or so Christmas that hasn’t mattered to her, it still feels weird sometimes to count her out of it completely.

I visited her over the New Year’s weekend, and found her sitting at a table with a man who I have never spent much time with, but who I know to be the husband of a former longtime support group attendee. Ever since she moved him out of her home and into the Alz center, she hasn’t come to group anymore. This man and Mom were sharing the table, but they weren’t really together. I greeted Mom with enthusiasm. She began talking and she just continued to talk. She was very animated, and I was so pleased to see her in such a good mood. She laughed a lot and was full of smiles. I don’t recall most of what she said, but I do remember clearly that she said, “Sometimes I forget who I am.” To which I replied, “You’re Bonnie.” And that was that.

On my next visit, about a week later, Mom was a little more subdued. She was lounging on a couch with Mr. Beard. He seemed nearly asleep, and I thought Mom was probably tired enough to drift off into a nap. Something she said when I arrived confirmed my suspicion that sometimes when she talks, she is describing her perception of what she is seeing. I stepped away to push a chair toward her, and she said, “I can go get one.” I think she was offering to get me a chair. But it was too late; I had gotten it myself. I don’t know if she actually would have gone through the motion of getting me a chair, because that seems beyond her comprehension to me at this point. But something about her saying that just as I was pulling up the chair – I just felt that I knew that was what she was trying to convey.

I talked to her and tried to take a picture of her – she was wearing pajamas that my brother gave her a few years ago for Christmas. They’re fleece, and a pretty shade of turquoise, and I liked that they were functioning as a lounge outfit for her. But it was hard to get a good shot of her so I gave up. She was as pleasant as the last visit, but a little less clear of mind, if it makes any sense at all to describe her that way. We got up to take a walk, and then sat in the hallway on a bench that rocks. We rocked a little, and I put my arm around her, and we just quietly swayed together for a little while. I was on my way to my root canal, so I wanted to brush my teeth. I used her bathroom to do that, and when I came back down the hall, she was gone. I found her in the lobby, chatting with a gentleman friend on a couch. I kissed her goodbye and scooted away while they resumed their conversation.

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6 comments so far

  1. Megan on

    Nice to see you back. Glad you survived your series of unfortunate events intact and with good humor!

  2. David on

    How wonderful that she is content. You couldn’t wish for more than that at this point. You are an amazing daughter and should give yourself credit for that. Also liked your latest news release. Good stuff!

  3. momsbrain on

    Hi, Megan. I’m trying to have humor. It’s tough sometimes…

    David, I agree. I’m so glad she is at peace. Thank you for the multiple compliments!

  4. jennifer jayhawk on

    As you know I can sooooo relate to your teeth issues. It is just endless and the pain can really wear you down.

    Take care!

  5. patwhite67 on

    I am sorry to hear about the discomfort you have had to endure over the past month. Glad you are getting over the tooth thing. I well understand what that’s like.

    I am glad to hear about the good report about your mom. As I remember, knowing that my mom was at peace and comfortable meant everything to me, as I know it does for you. Knowing a parent is secure and happy frees us up to do more living; at least that’s the way it was for me.

  6. momsbrain on

    Hi, Jennifer – yes that pain did wear me down! But it is finally fixed! I’m sorry you had similar problems.

    Pat – so true that Mom’s happiness does give me an opportunity to live my life a little more completely. Thanks for commenting!


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