My Mom is in the beginning stages of dementia. She is still able to live at her home alone but only does so 4 nights a week. The rest of the time she spends at my home. I really enjoy my Mom and although we had typical issues during my adolescence but then became close friends and often spent long periods of time traveling together.
My main struggle is me and my reaction to her. With her memory issues she has become more passive aggressive then she ever was before. Because she struggles with processing information she now process everything verbally.
For example she has always loved fresh french bread, not toasted, with butter. I set her up with a pot of coffee, fruit, and some of her favorite bread. I was then busy completing another task.
She first made mention " how it's such a shame I don't have a toaster. Then went on to wonder why don't I have a toaster. Did I think I was better than the other people who had toasters? This bread would be so delicious if only it was toasted. I broke into her soliloquy to remind her I did indeed have a toaster and she was welcome to use it.
She then changed her verbal musing to wondering why I would give her untoasted bread. Didn't I think she was worth of taking the extra time perhaps? Never mind for 77 years she has never eaten her bread toasted as long as I can remember.
My mother is not a mean person. She was never any more passive aggressive than the average human. Now it seems to become a constant theme of her personality.
However what really bothers me is my reaction to her. I manage to let 90% of her needling pass by me without even a blink. It is the other 10% that concerns me. I was in the middle of a task her constant stream of consciousness made me angry so I could not focus. I finally threw it down stomped over to her picked up her bread. Slammed it into the toaster and stood there fuming why I waited it to toast.
In the meanwhile Mom attention has moved on to other things. So in the few minutes it took me toast and butter the bread she has lost the thread of the conversation. When I bring the toast back to the table. She looks up at me confused and says "Oh honey you know I don't like toast. What were you thinking? "
I seriously contemplated throwing the toast right at her. Instead I walked away hearing her talk to my cat asking. " Now why do you think she is such a grouch today?"
I guess that is the biggest struggle. Because she doesn't remember interactions from 30 minutes ago I am always the wrong one. I am always the grump that is just not willing to be a good sport. It is so frustrating not having a shared reality. I am so sick of always, always being wrong.
It also is so hard because I know she can't help it. Why can't I let these things go? Why do I give a damn about toast?