Thursday, November 15, 2012

slip sliding away

The changes are coming fast. Every day, something else is failing.

For so long Mom has been fighting me. Denying that anything was wrong. Fighting my helping her, resisting my meddling.

Yesterday at my visit she was all drowsy and sleepy.
She was full of shakes and tremors. Sporadically jerking, her whole self twitching. She couldn't keep a grip on her drinking glass, it kept slipping down, or splashing up. The fork kept jumping out of her hand, launching lunch off her plate like pool-balls. I would put the fork back into her hand and help her stab some food. Sometimes she could get it into her mouth, sometimes not. This went on for a while.

An aide came over and told me that they have been holding Mom's hand as she holds her fork or glass, for a few days now.
"Did I want to feed her?"
I froze!
"Or I could do it?" she said. She must have seen the shock on my face. I could help Mom grab her fork, I could help Mom stab her food. I could NOT help guide her fork to her mouth. Why? What was wrong with me?

I felt like Mom would open her eyes, perk up and start yelling at me. I could hear her in my head yelling at me. "What in the he** do you think you're doing?!? I'm not a baby! I don't need your help. I am fine! I can do this!"  This is what my demented Mother should be saying to me. But she's not going to yell at me anymore. The words are going.  Yup, I'm now grieving the loss of Mom's behaviors from early stage dementia.  aaaaahhhhh!!!!  I have been the manifestation, the representation, of "normal". If she kept telling me that she was capable and able, yelling at me that my meddling was unnecessary, telling me she was fine, then maybe everything might be fine. But nothing is fine, nothing at all.

Mom was so drowsy, she could not stay alert through her lunch.  She was falling over in her dining room chair. I could not rouse her. I talked loudly, I pinched her, I tickled her. I got no response. She was in a thick doze. I would lean in with my cheek next to her's and sing in her ear. No response, no recognition. I was forehead to forehead asking her to wake up and talk to me, to open her eyes and eat dinner. No response. I was IN HER FACE, something that she hates, and she didn't even swat me away.

Monday, November 5, 2012


Some things don't change.
This is exactly what I'm feeling today.
The deep sorrow.
Just like three years ago.

Sunday, November 4, 2012


We hear a lot about music and Alzheimer's. I know how important music is to everyone, babies and elders.
This is an interesting video about using music to connect with someone.

So I was thinking... maybe I'll get my guitar out, I think it's time to brush up on all those silly songs, the campfire songs, the songs from Girl Scouts, the hymns, the folk songs, the carols, and all the songs that Mom taught to her second graders.

She doesn't want to watch the birds and flowers.  Putting together puzzles is no longer something she can do.  She can't figure out what to do with a handful of playing cards. She doesn't like looking at magazines, it makes her frustrated.

Maybe it's time to bring my guitar with me when I visit.  Time to try something new.

There is an old saying: when you sing, you pray twice. I sure could use the extra prayers!

Maybe some of Mom's neighbors will sing along with me.

"I've got something in my pocket that belongs across my face... so I take it out and put it on... a great big Brownie smile."  "Smile though your heart is aching. Smile even though it's breaking."