Friday, March 26, 2010

My turn to forget...

There are hard days, and there are hard days, we say.

It's been a hard week.

Last Saturday I picked Mom up early. We had lunch with my brother in law, Tim then came back to my house to hang out for the afternoon. When I'm working around the house on the weekends, I like to have her here, for a little socialization on both our parts, even if she decides to go take a nap. It gets her out of the house, we spend real, normal boring family time together.

We had a mundane interruption to the day, when I had to run to Office Depot for toner. I was locking up the house and herding her down the sidewalk when she asked me "do I have Alzheimer's?" I distractedly answered, "Yep."

When I say I was completely inconsiderate, I mean I was just that. I didn't put one iota of thought into my response. She knows she has Alzheimer's, so I simply figured there was more to the conversation. She might then declare "but I can still do things!" It would be a typical conversation

About 1/2 hour later, we were on our way home, and she suddenly burst into tears "why...why...would you love me? Why would you like me?" I was stunned with the outburst, but began giving her a list of reasons I love her, and asked her where this was coming from.

She sobbed harder. "With what I have. I'm not a good mother."
It wasn't until then that it hit me: She hadn't known she had Alzheimer's. She knew at one time, but she'd forgotten, and I had completely pulled the rug out from under her with my nonchalant answer to her question.

And for the last week, I have not been able to undo this; she just found out she has a disease, and she cannot be cheered. She a failure. She can't drive. She is supposed to be in a role of helping me, and she—she can't do anything!!!!

There is some light, today, after a week of convincing her that she is beautiful and worthwhile. "You know," she says, "I can do a lot of stuff." I joined right in on all of the stuff she does, "You read the paper every day, and you always know the weather. You take care of Buddy, and take care of yourself all day long until I get here"

"I can't take a shower," she reminds me.

"Yes you can! The faucets turn backwards, and it's hard to get the warm water right, that stupid thing is half-broken!" I tell her. "Don't I just get the water right and you wash yourself?" It's kind of true, and she's gleeful. And she can answer the door, and she can call me on the phone, and...

...and it was a tough, tough week with Alzheimer's. There is simply a point of no consolation, where you do and say what you can, and you have to let go and let God, and this will work itself out, and she'll come to terms with her situation.

Someday, she will forget again. And then...I will either be ready for it, or I'll have forgotten also, that she doesn't know.

Tomorrow is always a new day.

Sunday, March 7, 2010


One thing that I appreciate about Mom's current state of mind is that she still gets the joke. Teased lovingly, she will understand and laugh right along. This afternoon when we were near the mall, sirens in the background set her to speculating. "Someone probably fainted at Bed Bath and Beyond," I teased her. (Long story short, if you don't want to read all of that: She had a cramp, held her breath, fainted, and took a ride in an ambulance.) She recognized that I was teasing her immediately, and said "I don't ever want to do THAT again!"

And there are times that *she* gets *me.* And she damned well knows it, which makes it all the funnier.

We were sitting at five-points yesterday (for you townies), when someone, somewhere, honked their horn. "Shut up" I said. She chimed in "Yeah!" "Yeah, Mom! Tell them `Shut the hell up.' " 

"I would never say that!" she chided me. I assured her: "I know you wouldn't."

"No!" she said, "but I would say `YOU BASTARD!!' "

It was then that I almost fell right out of my car door, which is exactly what she'd been anticipating. We both screamed with laughter, me still out of total shock, and she for having gotten one over on me.

My mother, she does not swear. She rarely gets angry, and when she does it's almost humorous for it's lack of frequency. Any family and friends that know her can now testify that they, also, upon reading this just fell out of their computer chairs.

Hand on the Bible, yes she did.

She said the b-word.

She got me good.