Christmas | Blog | My Mothers' Caregiver
An elder care roadmap & observations from the journey
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My Christmas Dance
I'm sitting at the table stirring the spaghetti when a teardrop falls into my plate. My family just looks at me confused, helpful and concerned. “What’s wrong?” they all ask. I don’t know…I really don’t. Nothing new has happened or changed. I am happy, healthy and surrounded by loved ones and yet here I sit with my brain saying, “get a grip” while my emotions say “let it out.” In my heart of hearts I know…it’s that Christmas is coming. Christmas and other holidays bring out the strongest emotions “ good and bad. Things you've handled all year, with grace, mysteriously pull you apart at the seams once the carols start. That my Mom has dementia and lives in a nursing home are not new facts; but that she has dementia and lives in a nursing home at Christmas time “ this is new. I've got the tears in my noodles to prove it “ you probably do too. :) I have been a very blessed person. When I look around me at the pain people carry, I've experienced so little pain. I have not endured divorce (as a child or an adult) and when it comes to loved ones I have lost so few. I have never battled illness like cancer or held the hand of someone close as they fought it. My husband and children are healthy. My daughter will marry this summer “ and yet I weep in my pasta, thinking what the heck is wrong with me? I should be feeling thankful!  The answer: I miss my Mom and even more now that it is Christmas …and that is OK. I feel like I am losing her slowly and the losses come in layers. Although she is presently not paranoid and tormented, the recovery from her last “crash” was incomplete. She has definitely lost some clarity. She can’t seem to string three sentences together that are connected. Although she is “happy” presently, our conversations are making almost no sense. Last week she was unable to pull up words to express her thoughts. For the first time, instead of replacing them with other words - she replaced them with made-up words and gibberish. She’d scold me for crying for her instead of laughing with the “living”. Yet, I do celebrate that she is still “here”. Even if she won’t open her stocking with us or help me serve the roast dinner. I still have Mom this Christmas “ even in part. We still have her laugh, her puns and the sparkle in her eyes. That is more than many can say. Our last visit she was trying to tell me about the line-dancing activity she’d just participated in. When words failed her, she rose from her feet and pulled me up with her. I thought she was going to hug me but instead she placed our hands in the dance position and said, “Will you lead or will I?” Mom and I danced the two-step around her nursing home bed and I realized she had just given me another memory to cherish “ her Christmas gift.~S.O.
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