Originally Posted – 4/21/03
Alzheimer’s Disease is just a horrible thief that loves to tease. Here is my mother, but she’s not really in there. I’m really trying hard to stay upbeat, to see what’s ahead and prepare. Like Mom, I have my good days and my bad days. I’m so trying to hang on to that woman. When I’m talking to her, that person that she used to be . . . just isn’t IN there behind those eyes. Parts of her are, little bits and pieces, but it’s like a paper doll. Turn it sideways and it disappears. Look on the back, and there’s no printing – just blank cardboard. Cousin Michael says that this time is for me to say my goodbyes. The goodbyes are for me, not for her, and I’ll be glad for this time when she is gone.
So, I have her here every day. She sits here on my sofa, and I talk at her. Then, I listen to her talk at me. I know she loves me. When I put my baby in her arms with a bottle, she knows what to say, and she remembers what to do with a baby. When her food is ready, I help her up and over to the table. She only picks at the food, because she’s never hungry.
I answer her questions, no matter how many times she asks them. I can keep pretty upbeat and act like it’s the first time she’s asked. (That took a while to master that new skill!)
She talks about places she’s staying and homes that she and Daddy own, other than the little one-bedroom apartment just down the street. She tells me she just returned from a voyage on a ship in rough seas, where she lost her huge diamond ring.
I’ve been able to stop arguing with her – on most days. I’ve accepted that the truth means nothing and my denying her reality – whatever it happens to be that day, that moment – only causes her pain and doesn’t benefit her in the least. Reality bites.
I need to go and paint now.