light dawns briefly
a return to the present and my mom. it has been difficult the past few weeks to talk with her.....she's failing so quickly. frighteningly quickly.
the beginning of the month saw gerry and me discussing the next step for mom. seeing her extremely negative reaction to a move to assisted living. she threatened all manner of bad behavior, insisting there was nothing wrong with her.
this also spawned the ultimately hurtful exchange of emails between hannah and me. that relationship seems close to irreparable. i hope that one day she will be able to accept my attempts to mend the tears in our relationship.
last week, gerry called me. he found the perfect solution for mom (pending oakwood village's acceptance of mom into their program). oakwood would provide more help to mom.....for a fee, of course. they would dispense her meds, thus removing her temptation of digging out extra pills, she would get breakfast and lunch as well as the dinner she already received (meaning she would not have to cook), help her with her back exercises, make sure she showered twice a week......basically she would be getting almost the same services as assisted living without having to move out of her little apartment.
it sounded perfect. the only hitch was that mom had to pass their requirements. they had a list of things she needed to know......like what to do in an emergency, such as a fire. that one just about kept her out of the program. she wasn't quite sure what to do......
luckily, gerry has an uncanny ability to persuade people to his point of view. he astonishes me constantly with this little gift of his. i am often in awe. he tells me i need not be.....we seem to share the gift. i think he's better at it. (although when i worked with juvenile delinquents that particular skill came in very handy).
i called mom tonight.
she sounded terribly sad.
mom, what's wrong?
nothing rose. i'm fine.
you sound sad. why is that?
well, there were nurses here today. i have to go see some doctors.
what's going on?
wait rose, let me get my list.
upon her return to me, with the list, mom tries to explain the changes taking place. the people coming in to help, monitoring her personal hygiene, dispensing her pills......in her eyes, still stealing her independence.
it's my memory, rose. i'm just not smart any more.
mom, this has nothing to do with your intelligence.
i know....and i have no control over what's happening to me.
there it was: her admission. she was finally acknowledging her disease, the devastation it brings.
this has been the most difficult time in the progress of her alzheimer's. watching her decline and slowly, seriously admit what is happening to her. she feels so helpless and frustrated. her forgetfulness is so all encompassing that she can no longer joke about it.
the sadness in her voice, the tears i hear breaks my heart. and tears fall from my eyes at my own helplessness. there is nothing i can do for her, no pills to get her, no doctors to consult.
all we can do is watch her fade away, support her in any way we can and love her. it just doesn't seem enough.
and the pain of watching her finally acknowledge her disease and what it is taking from her is most painful. thing is, i'm not sure who it's more painful for......us or mom.
she talked to me tonight about how lucky she's been.
i've had a good life, rose. i raised 3 great kids......well at least two of you......she laughs. she also doesn't understand hannah's actions in life.
i agree with her....she's been a survivor on many fronts in her life. it has not been an easy one, in many ways.
even when your father left, things turned out well for me. i can't complain. there are a lot of folks who are worse off than me.
that's one lesson i will always remember from mom........i come from a line of survivors and fighters. she has always bounced back from the adversity that confronted her in life.
she can't bounce back from this, but she can leave with dignity......and as the light dawns briefly for her, helping her acknowledge the truth of her disease, she finds a way to see the positive. to strive to keep her independence for as long as she can.
i admire her for her strength and thank her for passing some of that on to me............