Sunday, June 20, 2010


There are two trashcans in my Mother's kitchen: one for trash and the other for commingled recyclables.

(Why does commingle have two m's? We don't say com-min-gull?)

Mom can no longer separate her trash from her recycling. Both trashcans are a mixture of everything. Last week I put a little "for recycling" note on the top edge of the barrel, that doesn't seem to help.
Sorting through her sticky garbage to find the recyclables is not a fun job.

Once upon a time, my parents kept their bags of trash in a large galvanized trash can, in the garage. Then once a week my Dad would go to the transfer station. Two winters ago, my Mom started piling her bags of garbage in the back porch. The walk to the garage was too far. It's dark and cold and through the snow, I could understand, so I put the big galvanized trash can in the back porch, better to contain the lovely sights and smells. I didn't want the loose garbage to tempt any mice or bears into the porch.

Then the four steps from the back door to the big can was too far, she would just open the back door and drop the trash bags on her backdoor mat. This was during the time when Mom was still driving and doing her own errands. So when I visited once a week, and had to step over bags of garbage to get to the door, I was amazed that she could have made so much trash that the big can was over full. But it wasn't full, it was empty.
Mom, this is disgusting, please put your trash in the big can.
"Well, we're going to the dump today, so who's going to see it."
An excuse, always an excuse, that's what dementia is about, some excuse, an explanation that does not really explain the behavior, but covers it.
"I can do whatever I want."
Yes, you can, you can do whatever you want. You have become this very stubborn person. You are my Mother and I use to listen to you, respect your wishes, and do what you wanted.
But no longer. Now you have to listen to me, but you don't. Now you have to do what I think is best, but you don't want to, you fight my decisions, you dismiss my authority. Mom, YOU gave me the authority to make decisions for you, you gave me this job, but you don't understand. To you I am just a meddlesome woman. I'm not even sure if you know that I am your daughter.

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