While I reassure my mother that she has me to be her memory, every time I repeat information that I told her yesterday, it seems to hit a raw nerve and I grieve just a little more (the tears still well up). It is hard to see this from a parent who was always on top of everything her 4 children, 11 grandchildren and 8 great-grandchildren were doing.
I am always smiling when I reassure her when she calls with a question that I might have answered a few hours ago or yesterday. I am happy that she can find my phone number and make the call. So, when memory wanes with those we love, we need to find joy in the small things – like receiving a phone call.
I know she is well cared for and safe in her assisted living environment but every so often, when I see her looking great with her hair fixed just the way she has always wore it, her clothes matching and looking smart, I think just maybe she will recover and be able to return to her home. Then I get smacked with a call from someone who says they visited her but Mom can’t recall the visit. Or hearing that she told my sister-in-law how cute her apartment is and asked if had she seen it before? In actuality, she visits my mother about two times a week! Well, Linda, I tell myself, sometimes you think those magical, wishful thoughts and you have 27 years experience working with clients like your mom – this is the reality of mom’s 89th year, she has a dementia.
Dementia, from strokes or from Alzheimer’s, takes our family members away from us, one brain cell at a time. It is so hard to witness – yet, should I not be happy that she is in the “moment” and very content with her new home? Yes, for that, I am. But, my moments are sometimes sad now (31 days past the stroke). I know I will find my way to acceptance but, like others, not without a grieving process.