How has Mom's dementia affected me, how has it changed me? I was wondering about that the other day when I realized that... as silly as this sounds... I'm not afraid of "old people" any longer.
When I was growing up there were no elders in my family, nobody lived long enough to become "old". The only elders I ever knew were the folks that I saw in nursing homes when visiting with scout groups or church groups, standing huddled with my peers while singing carols or passing out May baskets. YOU know how scary nursing homes can be to a child: the people talk different, they move different, and they smell different.
I never considered my neighbor, Auntie Ruth, as old. Because even in her eighties she was still gardening, active in church, and happy to play with us little girls from the neighborhood.
How else has Mom's dementia changed me?
I try to cherish each moment. I try to find joy in little things.
I believe in support groups.
I cry a lot more. The grief fills me up and spills out my eyes. So... I don't wear as much mascara as I use to.
I'm not afraid to introduce myself to complete strangers.
I've become better able to communicate on the phone to advocate for my Mother's needs and rights.
I go to the gym and exercise regularly.
And Mom's dementia has reminded me how precious my brother is, he's grown from that cute little kid, to an amazing man, with a wonderful family.