One thing about this dementia that keep surprising me, is how self-centered and self absorbed Mom's behavior has become. I'm not sure if self-centered is the right word. Egocentric?
It's all about her. She is a world unto herself.
There is no conversation, there is no back and forth, she talks about her topics and I respond with, "Oh really. That's nice. Yes it was."
She never asks "How are you?" She rarely asks about my kids or husband.
My brother, EJ, was here for two weeks this past month. Two weeks that he left his wife, kids, job, and dogs to be here with us. The first week, the week from h*ll, was the week we moved Mom into the assisted living residence. The second week, we worked together on Mom's house. This second week also contained both Mom and EJ's birthdays.
Every visit with EJ and Mom - I am still shocked and saddened by her response to seeing him.
There is no "Wow, what are you doing here?"
There is no "Wow, you just flew 2500 miles to see me!"
There is no "How are you? Where is your family? How is your family?"
There is no "I'm so happy you are here for my birthday."
There is no "You're here again."
There is no "I'm glad you're here."
There is no "You're here again to see me, how nice."
There is no "Hey everybody, my son is here to see me, he came from far away."
There is only "Oh hi, did you see my newspaper, don't let the cat out, this is a picture of my grandmother's tree."
Is she thinking, "You are just another body in my room."? Or is she thinking "Of course my son is here to see me, why wouldn't he be, no big deal."? I knew, she knew who he was, at least most of the time.
I'm finding this blog post difficult to write, as it shows me the devastation, another bit of her is gone.
One day my youngest son came to help EJ and I with the cleaning-out of Mom's house. Of course we also stopped over to visit Mom.
She looked at him and asked, "Where's the one with the beard? Have you seen my shoes? Don't let the cats out. See this picture, it's me when I was five years old."
There was no "It's so nice to see you."
There was no "I've missed you."
There was no "How are you?"
Gone is the doting and loving grandmother, gone are the big hugs and squeezes, gone is the joy from her eyes.
There was no joy, no joy in mudville, no joy in mudborough.
There are just heavy hearts.
Yes, I understand, it's all the dementia. We are no longer part of her world.
It's all about living in the moment. Her moments, her world.
Her thoughts of herself as this 20 year old woman she thinks she is, the thoughts of herself as she struggles to live in a jail, a jail full of old people with gray hair. This new jail where she only has one pair of pants, table-mates who won't talk to her, and a daughter who never visits.