Mom knows something is wrong and I don't know what to say.
I'm not sure what I'm looking for here. I guess I just need to say something about my mom and how difficult it is to see her decline mentally. Today was especially hard for me. I didn't want to cry in front of her, but I came close a couple of times.
I've been happy to have the opportunity to spend time with her and I can't ever remember her being so warm and able to express her love so freely until recently. I always knew she loved me and my brothers, but I guess it wasn't easy for her to just say it. When one of us would say, "I love you Mom," her reply was always, "we love you too," meaning her and my dad.
My dad died a year ago in October and, fortunately, they had moved into assisted living where my mom continues to live. I'm also glad that I live nearby and am able to see her regularly. My brothers live out of town, but are also wonderfully supportive and take turns visiting her every Saturday.
I love my mom very much, but I'll admit there are times when I don't feel like seeing her and I get tired of all the visits to the doctor. Also, it's depressing and scary when I visit and see all those people just sitting around waiting for something to happen. I keep thinking that's probably going to be me someday. I'm 61 and I was just 41 so recently that I can't believe how quickly 20 years passes. The next time I'll be 81 and that alone seems so frightening. And, my husband and I don't have children so we're really going to be on our own. I know it's a selfish thought, but it's real.
That really hit home today when my mom said to me, "there's something wrong with my brain." There is, but I didn't know how to respond. I wanted to say, "no there isn't," but she knows and she needs to be able to talk about it. So, I asked her what she thought was wrong and she didn't know, but thought she might have had a small stroke. She thought she should see her doctor and I told her she would be seeing him in October. She thought that was too long to wait and I told her I could make an appointment sooner.
She told me she was forgetting everything and she couldn't leave her room because she might get lost and not be able to find her way back. Also (and this is when I almost lost control), she said she didn't have a husband anymore to help her. I told her I knew that was hard, but that I would always be there for her and I would always make sure she was cared for. Then I told her I would write down the things that were going to happen today and tomorrow so she could look at that as a reminder.
I went into her bedroom to look for paper and dry my eyes. I couldn't find any so I had to go to the front desk and I just started crying. I couldn't believe how I lost control of myself and, of course, everyone was very nice. When I got back to my mom's room I sat down and wrote "Today is Wednesday" and listed the things that were going to happen and told her someone there would remind her and make sure she got back to her room. Then I added that tomorrow I would come to see her again and we would go out for lunch. She told me that this was very helpful and how much she appreciated it. She is ALWAYS thanking me and the staff for our help.
When I was ready to leave I told her how much I loved her and she said, "I love you, too. I'm so lucky to have you for a daughter." I told her she was the best mother anyone could have and she replied, "well, not anymore." That really broke my heart and I know she saw that I was upset. I just said, "that's not true, you are wonderful."
I read so much about the parents with Alzheimer's who are angry and mean (I know it's not their fault) and I can only imagine how upsetting that must be. I don't know why I'm so fortunate to have such a sweet mother (she'll be 94 in December). She has been upset and gets irritable at times, but mostly she is very kind and always saying "thank you." I just want her to be as happy as possible and I don't want her to be afraid or worried. Even though she has this horrible disease, I really admire her strength and determination. She's still walking on her own, bending over to tie her shoes and she is still smart and I'm so blessed and sad at the same time.