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Amazing Grace

Dear Mom, Well, I just wanted to write to tell you that you became a great grandmother again. Little Grace came into the world on Mother's Day morning making me a grandmother for the first time and I am certain now I will never be the same! It makes me a little sad that I can't share this experience with you fully, I am not sure how many times I've told you my daughter (your grand daughter) is pregnant - lots anyways. At this point although you recognize my kids, you can't seem to make sense of who everyone is anymore...but that's ok. Still, though I am happy. Becoming a grandmother has made me remember things I had almost forgotten about you. As I come alongside and support my grown daughter, stories of you come flooding back. I remember how you loved, encouraged and took care of me and everything so I could just learn how to nurse the baby and get my confidence. You were a great mom to me. You are a great mom to me - even as you slip away. I am so thankful for you! Love you, Sharon xo   

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Missing Mom Moments

 

It has been awhile since I’ve posted, partly because of commitments I have to family during the summer, but also because things have been pretty good for my Mom. There just hasn’t been much to share.

In some ways Mom is slipping. She has had some minor falls and has a hard time pulling up any memories, including her long term memory, which up until now was fairly intact. But, she has been happy and funny. Even though she can’t carry on a  true conversation, she can still surprise you with witty one-liners that cause you to bust a gut with laughter. Her whole face lights up when I walk in the door and while she doesn’t make much sense, the connection is undeniable. I’ve been able find peace in that. So much so, that I sometimes almost forget. I almost forget that my mother is slowly dissolving before me.

Then, something happens where I have to realign this new mother I’ve grown to know and love, with the mother she used to be…and I remember how much I have lost. In two weeks my daughter will get married. Thankfully, Mom is going to be able to attend the ceremony with some assistance. Although, I am happy she will be able to be there, the truth is Mom won’t really be able to grasp the joy of what is happening. To her the church will be a sea of strangers mixed together with some familiar faces. By the time she wakes up the next morning, the memory will be gone.

It is here my two realities collide –loving the woman I know and missing the woman I’ve known. I always recognize this is happening when the tears begin to live just below the surface. It is in these moments that I remember I am partly orphaned. When I want more than anything to curl up beside her on the couch and listen to her stories, but the stories are gone. I want to ask, “What was I like as a young bride?” but I know that Mom has already passed on, leaving behind this partial Mom-child.

I wish I could tell her, “I miss you, Mom, (even though you are still here).

I miss your wisdom, your stories and your comfort. I miss the way you worried about me and prayed for all your children and grandchildren by name. I miss seeing you scurry about the house Dad built and swinging with you on the front porch. I miss being the child instead of the mother. I miss YOU!”

Dementia is a terrible thing!

BUT, tomorrow is another day. Life goes on and just like other caregivers do, I will get up and try to find the joy hiding in all the sorrow. Tomorrow, I will go and see the mother that is still present in this life and be thankful for the connection that remains.

I will whisper Thanks be to God.

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A Welcomed Response

 

This post is extremely overdue.

Not only because My Mother’s Caregiver is operating on summer hours, (late at night or  rare moments when beloved family is not present), but also, because people need to know that I did in fact receive a welcomed response from my letter to Quinte Health Care Hospitals.

If you recall my last post, it was a letter to the President and Chief Executive of Quinte Health Care, Mary Clare Egberts.

To be honest, I did not expect a real response…maybe a form letter thanking me for writing or a note from a public relations worker. However, happily, I was wrong. Mary Clare Egberts phoned me at home. Not only did she phone me, she phoned me again until she got me at home. Our conversation was at least a half an hour long. I felt heard, affirmed and encouraged to share my observations. I know I am an optimist, but it felt to me like I was speaking to someone grappling with difficult issues, doing her best within an imperfect system and most of all someone who cared.

And isn’t that the real issue?

Maybe this blog won’t change any government policies. Perhaps it won’t make a tangible impact on any medical or social decisions, BUT if can make people stop and care, then it has done something.

If it encourages health care providers and MPP’s to get a little emotional about the plight of families and elders in crisis, if it makes us pause before we see someone as “a crazy old person” or make us hesitate before we get impatient with a struggling senior, if we can be reminded that THESE ARE PEOPLE – someone’s mother, father, sibling, friend…

– well wouldn’t that be something worth doing?

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