As I have mentioned before, my Mother has been teaching me to lie; well not really, Mom's dementia has been teaching me to lie, and it's been teaching me to steal too.
When Mom was still living in her own house, I would steal the rotten food out of her fridge and the expired food from the pantry. "Why are you throwing that away? It's perfectly good!!" (Note to self: don't let her see me do this next time.)
I stole her car. It's been almost two years and she is still angry about that, which she tells me every time we see a Subaru.
I quietly stole the photos from the big pile on her table. Photos of Dad, the ones she hadn't yet torn in half.
I stole her check book and ledger. For a while, she would let me help her pay her bills, we would do it together, but then it got too much for her. She was loosing bills, she would pay bills twice, or not at all. It got to the point where I had to steal her bills and solicitous junk mail. (Jeesh this sounds really bad doesn't it!) I would go to her mailbox before my visit, and take out the bills, but leave the rest of her mail. Later when I would drive her to do all her errands, we would get the mail, there was always lots of mail. She never really missed her bills.
Then I did the biggest theft of all, I stole her house and all her worldly goods. I packed her up and moved her to an assisted living residence. I am the reaper: disposing of her possessions, her crap, her collections, her stuff, her clothes, her dishes, her house, her home.
Now that Mom is at assisted living, I'm still stealing. I steal the month's worth of old newspapers and the piles of dirty tissues that can't seem to find the trashcan. I steal the boxes of stale Christmas cookies and the Valentine's candy that she wouldn't eat. "Don't take those, someone will eat them." (Someone who??) I steal her dirty clothes and her too small slacks.
This sounds really bad, it sounds like I am a crook and a cheat. These are tasks I didn't want, these are responsibilities that I didn't choose. My Mother made me her power of attorney twelve years ago, something I never thought I'd have to act upon. Just like I never thought I'd have to blow my Mother's nose or tie her shoes.
And I'm still lying to my Mother. "Where are my Indian Head Pennies?"
I don't know Mom, where were they?
"They are in the bottom drawer of my dresser, in my bedroom."
I'll look for them next time I go to the house. Her dresser is right here in front of her, at her new apartment. But it is empty, she doesn't use it, it is just here, being something familiar. She is thinking of her dresser as it was in her bedroom at home. The one that is still "there" in her mind. The pennies are at my house, waiting for me to give them to her grandchildren.
Which other Ten Commandment can I break? How about honoring your Father and Mother... let's not go there today.