…how difficult and distorted and cruel life can be at times, and how some of that is my fault.
Most know that Umi (my mother–yes, I have to remind you now and then) has the beginning stages of dementia, or as we like to call it, demential (thanks for the typo, Zia). It helps to joke about it because if you’re familiar at all with dementia, you know how frustrating and heartbreaking it can be when things start fading from your mind or the mind of someone you love.
Umi forgets things…a lot. Not as often as my grandmother did…yet, but I’ve learned to not argue about memories that differ from my own. There’s really no point. It’s not going to change her memory to the correct one. So you’d think I’d be more understanding when she locks herself out of the house and has to call me at work because she’s locked herself out of the house. There’s a Post-It note on the door specifically for this reason and it is at her eye level. She even admits that she sees it every time she opens the door. And yet, she walked right out the door without her keys and locked the door behind her. She’s locked herself out probably about six times in the past year.
Did I mention frustration?
I was a horrible daughter last Thursday. I made my mother cry. I knew that before I even walked out of the building to head home to let her back in and I felt like complete shit the whole way home. And the whole way back to work. Why I was frustrated doesn’t even matter, and it really had little to do with this particular incident. I’m afraid that she’s going to forget where she lives one of these days and it’ll be a story on the news. It scares the ever-living hell out of me to think that that could be the future. So while my frustration stems from a place of fear for my mother’s well-being, it gives me no right to snap at her for forgetting to grab her keys.
People won’t remember 90% of what you say, but they’ll remember how you made them feel.
I apologized before I went back to work, told her I loved her, and on the way home from Princess the Chihuahua’s vet appointment later that afternoon, I bought her ice cream and Arby’s. It’s nowhere near enough. Losing thirty minutes of my time at work is nothing compared to losing my mom. Nothing.
2 thoughts on “I Forget…”
I’m caring for my mother, too. Umi and I are about the same age, I think, so picture it. Giggle, right?
Mom’s troubles are physical, though there’s been some mental impact, too. She can’t see, hear, walk, or sit up, so stimulation is hard for her. Also, she sleeps in catnaps, so it can be hard for her to know if she ate “just a while ago” or eight hours ago. And was that glass of tea brought to her today or yesterday? She will argue and not believe me, so I’ve just started going along with her opinions.
I could go on about the challenges, but I’ll spare you that.
It’s hard to care for parents because they’re as stubborn as two year olds but not nearly so obedient. Try to do what’s best for them, but don’t assault their dignity or question that they are adults who get to make their own decisions.
Right now, I think Mom needs to be in the hospital, and she probably knows it, too, but she’s had enough of that. She won’t go. What to do?
And, I’ve made her cry, too, but mostly because she can be so partial to one of my brothers and so judgmental toward one of my sisters. It’s a struggle between my ego, which demands fairness, and my heart, which does not ever want to hurt the old gal.
Honey, I feel pain that is similar to yours.
Do your best. Forgive yourself when you “fail.” Keep marching.
If the keys are the big (current) problem, can you put them on a lanyard she can wear around her neck? And can you get her an ID bracelet? Yes, there’s risk to that, too, but you don’t want her wandering around in 120 heat, wondering WTF happened to her house.
Hugs, Jinxie. And hugs to Umi, too. And a sharp hand salute to you for taking responsibility for your mom at this time of her life.
Thanks Tex, I got all teary-eyed there. I’m trying to not be hard on myself, but it’s difficult. I appreciate the kind and supportive words. Needed to hear that today. *hugs* back atcha. =) And yeah, there’s a damn Chihuahua in my house now. Whole different breed of dog than what I’m used to.
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