I had my mom diagnosed years ago, I knew something was wrong, I just couldn't put my finger on it...
And here we are years later without a shadow of doubt dealing with my mother and her dementia. It is a cruel disease that robs you of the relationship you once experienced with a loved one. One where you recognize the person on the outside, but can't comprehend what they've become on the inside.
My mother was always the picture of patience as we grew up. Spending hours on projects with us as kids or always the last to eat or finish eating as we grew. Constantly giving up whatever she had to give to her family before herself.
Now that person is barely recognizable, with angry outbursts, the inability to complete simple tasks and constant confusion. I try and spend time with my mother, time where she is enjoying life, experiencing something in a positive light. I usually try and incorporate art, since she was always a great artist.
While never a self assured person, confidence now is non existant. Unable to put a splash of paint on a piece of paper without visable discomfort, the creative person has gone along with the patient one. Afraid to make a mistake she will not even butter her pancakes without permission, and even then sometimes she waits until you do it for her.
She snaps when you ask her not to do something, which you have already asked three times previous, but she forgot. Angrily blurting "well I didn't know" - I've learned to just be quiet after this. In the past I would tell her, I just told you, and it would be a back and forth battle.
I'm learning as we go along and I'm thankful to have a supportive husband who takes the time to talk with her and explain things, much better than I do. As well as understands when we are taking her on our weekend with us. Its not an easy task for everyone involved, but we do what is necessary to give her quality time when with us.
Recently the lowest day with mom was the day Jane died. I had taken Deb to the mall to get some clothes, when seeing my mom across the mall I jogged over and told her to join Deb and I, she had walked to the mall from my brothers house. While I was trying shoes on Deb my mom began shouting that Joel and I ruined her because we broke her car? I was shocked, and asked her what she was talking about? She screamed, you know, don't you try and make me crazy, I know what you did. I said mom, Jane died today, thinking this would stop her rant? She screams I know, and continues on about her car. Needless to say she has not been able to drive for months now...
While I am trying to get over the shock and uneasiness, and also help Deb, she says I'm not staying here and bolts away from us into the crowd. There was nothing I could do, I can't leave Deb alone. All the emotions overtake me, Jane had just died hours ago, I'm trying to be a good sister, a good daughter and my mother does this... While trying to hide my tears, I called Joel, and Deb just kept commending me on how well I handled mom... (smile)
Its a constant battle, I drive to pick her up singing a "practice patience" mantra before I get there because I know its going to require all I have, and when the day or days or weekend is over, I am emotionally spent...