Mom didn't tell us she had dementia. Now she doesn't know who I am. Anyone else have this experience?

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Mom didn't tell us she had dementia. She was articulate and smart and was able to hide it for a long time. In hindsight I probably knew it was happening but I didn't. She was at times mean. And I was mean back. I was never patient and I was rarely kind. I'm so sorry. Now she doesn't know who I am. I missed those years. Anyone else have this experience? It would be nice to know I wasn't the only one who has made this mistake.

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Thank you. There is solace in knowing that she was still there enough at the time to "fight back" although I would certainly prefer if those weren't the primary memories.

Like many, I have two young kids (now school aged, but then were toddlers) and a husband who is helpful but works a lot and I work as well. I was pulled all over the place. And when she would come visit, she was frustrating -- I had a limited amount of patience each day (I'm human, yes, but admittedly, I'm not a particularly patient person in general -- it's a weakness), and I needed all of it for my toddlers, one of whom was pretty sick for a long time after a pretty serious bout with RSV. But I feel as if I am using my kids to excuse my behavior. Being sandwiched is hard.

On the other hand, when she would fight back she would say "you are so ready to say I've lost my mind!" and I knew she was still there. She doesn't fight back anymore. And oddly, I miss it, despite my guilt. So, Countrymouse, your words were more reassuring than you realize. I had not thought of it from that perspective -- you are right. Mom and I never were super close -- we had the more Joan Rivers (not quite wire hangars) relationship to begin with when I was a teen. It got better in my 20s, but by my mid 30s, she was declining, I realize now. And I do still tell her the day to day things, and sometimes I get to tell her good news more than once!

I can't thank all of you enough for your kind words. I found this page by accident, and while I may not post much, I will be reading. My father died from food poisoning -- it was quick and sudden. This is grueling and a type of grief that just seems to weigh and weigh and weigh. So, I thank you for your support as I navigate forward.
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Houston, another way to look at this is that your mother had all that extra time when you were treating her as a person who was articulate and smart and holding her own, instead of as a poor little old lady who was losing her marbles. Unwittingly or not, you helped her hold on to "normal" for longer. Don't be sorry for what you couldn't possibly have known.

Did she love you because you were patient and kind? No, she loved her daughter - quick and sharp and a chip off the old block.

And if she doesn't seem to know you now, she still loves the girl who looks a lot like her and is very sweet to her. Wishing you comfort, hugs.
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It's hard. I sometimes think of what I should have done or should not have done. Try to think of the things you did right. We sometimes talk of the signs we did not see that Mom was getting Alzheimer. I think that Mom still knew us when she had passed over from the Mom we knew to someone who did not seem to know us. She was more comfortable with me than a stranger and deep down I know she knew me. You can still be with your Mom and offer that comfort. Forgive yourself, deep down she has and will always love you! Praying for you.
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Dear Houstonmom,

You are certainly not alone. Hindsight is always 20/20, but its also pure torture. You did the best you could with the knowledge you had. It is frustrating when our parents are acting out but we just don't know why. We think what have I done to deserve this? Haven't I always tried to be the good daughter?

Before my dad's stroke, he would have his moments, but I tried to make him happy. But I didn't realize he was suffering from high blood pressure, diabetes and cholesterol. He would have these outbursts and I would feel attacked. I just retreated and would ignore him. He had a stroke and three years later he died after a series of heart attacks. I still have terrible guilt and anger about my failure to be more compassionate towards him at the end. I left his hospital beside and two hours later he died. He died alone with a nurse watching his last breaths. I wish still I could go back and be less stubborn and tried to reach out to him more.

I know its hard to see your mom in this condition. But has Devastated has said, there is still time to talk to her and hold her hand. I wish I could still do that for my dad.
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Dear Houstonmom, My dad died seven years ago. I think he covered a lot for my mom. When he died I was the child out of four kids that basically saw to all of my moms needs. When she was mad she always took it out on me. I think she was acting out because of confusion, and dementia. I didn't know that my mom had dementia because her doctor never explained it to me. Now my mom is in a nursing home. She is blind, confined to a wheelchair, and is confused pretty much all of the time. I Have a lot of guilt for the times that I just wanted to be with my husband and son. I didn't always want to go to my moms for dinner, or to give her shots, or take her to the beauty shop or doctor appointments. I feel terrible now, however at the time I was torn in so many directions, I thought I would have a nervous breakdown. ( I have a job outside the home as well). My advice I guess is that we can only do the best we can. Take one day at a time. do not feel guilty. You didn't make a mistake you only reacted to the situation at the time. Maybe join a support group, hold your moms hand, talk to her, I talk to my mom even though you think she may not know you, on some level she may respond to your voice, your touch, or just be comforted that she is not alone. Dementia is tougher on the survivors, I think because we have to see the mental and physical decline, whereas my mom really is in an altered state. I hope this helps. Your are not alone. Everyday my mom goes on is a day of heartache. I lost my dad suddenly without warning, and this long horrible goodbye with mom is one thousand times worse. Take some time for you, do things you enjoy even just taking a walk , reading, enjoying a candle, simple things to just care out some alone time. Hugs and prayers positive thoughts from someone who is going thru this strange and frightening journey too.
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