My mother's great-grand daughter (10 years old) gave my mom one of her baby dolls. Mom is stage 6c on the FAST scale (Functional Assessment Staging Test), according to her Palliative Care Nurse Practitioner.

Yesterday, I met with the NP for my mother's assessment. The day before, my niece and great-niece visited Mom and took her a baby doll. Mom accepted the doll immediately! I watched her interact with her "baby" while the NP and I took care of business. Mom was in her own world with her baby and cared less that we were there.

Mom held the doll and kissed it, talked to it, touched its nose, feet and hands. She unwrapped it from its blanket and inspected it. She wrapped it back up and cuddled it and baby-talked to it. I was shocked and awed watching my mom. She smiled and laughed as she played with her doll.

It was bittersweet to watch. And, it confirmed to me that my mother is truly gone. The NP told me that Mom is more advanced than I realize. She said she wants to see Mom every two weeks to get a better feel for where she is. She also said that she believes that she is Hospice ready, not because she is at the end of her life, but because she can benefit from the services that Hospice provides.

My mother takes Xarelto and the NP is going to also remove this medicine. She believes that the harm of taking this medicine is greater than the help. This is just another confirmation for me that my mom is declining faster than I realize.

I don't know what or how to feel. I think I am numb and tired. Accepting that my sweet mother is completely gone from me hurts. I admit that I pray for her to go to sleep and wake up in heaven. I'm so afraid that she will live to endure the end stage of this monster: can't swallow, bedridden, etc. Ya'll know the trajectory.

Thank you for listening. I just needed to share the good news that Mom has something to fill the long hours in her day. Her comfort with her new "baby" comforts me, too. I hope it lasts...

Maybe your mom isn't completely gone from you. Maybe she's holding you in her arms as she holds the baby and cares for her and coos to her, as she most likely did with you when you were a baby.

I visited the most extraordinary dementia wing one time. It was done in Victorian decor and there were all kinds of baby dolls displayed: a couple were on the couch, one would be sitting in a chair, etc. And it encouraged the residents to interact with the dolls and they did! Some residents picked up the dolls and carried them around, some sat beside a doll and made sure it was warm and tucked in, some talked to the dolls in a motherly voice. It was enchanting to see something so lovely amidst the ugly disease of dementia.
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Reply to Eyerishlass
AbbyRose Jan 30, 2020
Thank you so much for sharing your experience. Mom has always loved babies, and she used to babysit years ago when I was a little girl. It gave her a little money of her own. She did not work until my brother and I were older and in school. So, yes, I agree that maybe she thinks she is holding me. We've always been so close.

I also appreciate your wording: "Enchanting to see something so lovely amidst the ugly disease of dementia."

Indeed, watching Mom was enchanting.

Thanks, again.
I love to read posts like yours, Abby rose, because in them, my belief in the love that transforms and transcends the tragic changes of dementia is always confirmed.

I was sole caregiver for my wonderful mother, and now for her youngest sibling. When we care for people we love, we are constantly, silently saying “Thank You” for who they were when they, and we, were younger.

As others have said, we are sometimes surprised in the quiet moments (or sometimes the raucously funny ones) how very close our loved ones can reveal that they still are to us.

You can rejoice that the sweet gift from that dear little girl has brought your mother a gentle recognition of something she once knew and loved.

I always say that if my LO is having a “good” day when I arrive, I leave with tears in my eyes; if not, the tears when I leave are just the same.

Let yourself relax and enjoy your visits. Somewhere, on some level, you are sharing good news here, but also with the mom you love.
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Reply to AnnReid
grlover Feb 1, 2020
Hi, thank you for your beautiful reply. My sibs and I are at the beginning stages of decline with our beautiful and once very capable Mom. Actually she’s been declining for a couple of years, but we just got an official diagnosis, which validates what we already knew. As hard as it sometimes is, acceptance, of the reality of decline, or of what is, has it’s own sense of beauty. Acceptance makes this whole process go a lot more smoothly, and I don’t mean acceptance in a passive, “throw in the towel” kind of way. It’s an acceptance, going with the natural flow of whatever the diagnosis is, and finding the love for that person, within that, that I try to realize. Fighting with, or trying to change that reality really does no one any good and gets in the way of loving that person. Better to use one’s energy loving and supporting the person than trying to change something we do not really have control over. Thank you for making this point in such a kind and gentle way.
Oh AbbyRose my heart goes out to you but your post also warmed my heart and made me smile. In some ways you are witnessing what your mom must have felt when you were placed in her arms and the true joy she got from mothering, how lucky are you and out of the mouths of babes, in this case the arms of babes ( your great niece). What a true gift to witness and I would take great solace in knowing your mom is happy and content, it doesn’t sound to me like she is suffering right now. But it all makes sense that your mom is instinctively a mom given the daughter she raised and the generations of family she has caring about her, you are truly an inspiration AbbyRose able to plan ahead, be fully engaged, surrounding yourself with the right people and facing this difficult journey with courage and love. My heart goes out to you and is warmed by your sharing.
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Reply to Lymie61
Penelope123 Feb 1, 2020
Beautifully said! My sentiments also.
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I would say that if it comforts her, it is a wonderful thing! I wish you both the very best!
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Reply to anonymous912123
AbbyRose Jan 30, 2020
Thank you. I definitely believe that Mom is comforted when she's adoring her baby. I'm going to see her today, and I hope she is still happy with her new love.
Oh, Abby...
Your mom is NOT completely gone from you. I fully believe she's in there somewhere. I've watched my own mom go through all the early stages of Alzheimer's, and it has definitely impacted me emotionally. Now that my mom is in the later stages, and she doesn't always even remember my name, she still has a strong emotional response to seeing me. Even though your mom's physical abilities, including even being able to swallow, will continue to decline, the human brain is a remarkable thing: Even with the ravages of a disease like Alzheimer's, our brains have managed to protect the most important memories by storing them in places not even Alzheimer's can reach. I have to believe this or else I'd become "numb and tired."
Hugs to both you and your mom!
Helpful Answer (7)
Reply to bluefinspirit

Abby, I work in a MC home and lots of the little ladies there have a baby doll they love to swaddle and care for. We even have a gentleman who loves to do the same! I'm not sure she's 'totally gone' from you by wanting to cuddle with a baby doll; just maybe going back to her early days as a new mom when she was happiest. That's a much better way to think of this, I believe, because remember, when she's holding the doll, she's very happy. So are the people in the MC home where I work........they are at their absolute best when caring for their babies. One lady named Yvonne is so tender with her doll that it brings tears to my eyes to watch her.

Wishing you the very best moving forward, my friend. I know how hard all of this is; I witness the grief every day, firsthand. But I also get to witness the joy and the comfort that these baby dolls bring some of the residents.
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Reply to lealonnie1

Praises that the deep gifts of love and joy and peace can surface in such a simple way.

My 2 girls have five cats between them. The three cat owner kept telling me we “need” a cat. My “A”
burdened wife is substantially non verbal at this point (7 1/2 years) in.

I got her a cat (A robot cat) for Christmas. Well imagine the joy of watching your loved one giggle smile at, laugh and talk to the “cat”. I have to admit I respond positively to its mewing, purring, and particularly sighing myself.

Take every little joy and let it help you to make your day and your loved one’s also.
Helpful Answer (7)
Reply to Bblsu63

Hugs sweetheart. Everything you are feeling is normal. Keep praying the desires of your heart.
Consider hospice it really helps patient and family
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Reply to Savage4147

Oh, AbbyRose, am sending hugs to you. It had to have been shocking to you to see your mom "regress" this way. Maybe she seems gone to you, and yet maybe to her, the doll was a memory of you when little. In what bits of lucidity your mom may have, she may well feel helpless and frustrated. Women spend so much of our lives taking care of others' needs that it is a big part of our identity, and when that is gone....Her doll is "someone" who needs care, and she knows how to care for a baby. She took care of you. That is why you turned out to be tenderhearted adult.
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Reply to InItForGood

My mom had a little stuffed dog given to her by her granddaughter.

Sometimes when I would visit with her that was the only way to get her to interact with me. I'd hold the stuffed dog and make his face turn sideways like it was trying to figure her out and it always would make her laugh. She just loved it.

It sits on my dresser now.🐶
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Reply to Gershun
AbbyRose Feb 4, 2020
Thank you for your story. I know the dog is a constant reminder of your mom. I know that when I lose my mom, Emily, the doll, will be so special to me as well.
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