my thoughts when I spend a few days with her...
After three trips upstairs not finding her glasses, I lend her mine. Although just reminded, she begins to put away the dirty dishes from the dishwasher. Defensive when asked why she moved her craft projects to another room... this, just a small portion of our day.
Growing up she was such a good mom, her days were dedicated to us kids. Like many moms she would spend an afternoon doing crafts with us, entertaining our young minds, preparing meals and all the other household chores. She had the patience of a saint with four children running circles around her. Walking us to Southland, the closest shopping center growing up. Where we could get one small item and then were led back home. Something to use the energy in four young children and distract from her long days at home. Never learning to drive until her mid thirties.
But as we grew her abilities seemed to diminish, our growth drifted beyond her capacity to comprehend, and eventually we outgrew her.
Before the death of our father, there was an epiphany when the complicated issues of her childhood started to surface, and we began to truly understand what stunted her growth. Many studies reveal that abuse to a child can shrink important parts of the brain. Keeping her abuse quiet kept her in shame of her past, unable to unmask the pain of her childhood and ultimately squashing her potential in life.
Contrary to her childhood she made ours idyllic, one we believed was shared by all families. Protected by the loving walls of a mother who stayed home during the day while our father worked several jobs to keep them afloat. A childhood full of good memories to elevate us into our adult lives.
Over the years, through discovery, doctor appointments and research to understand the mind and how it works, I am learning the heartbreaking truth of this lonely life she leads. Derived from those early years of abuse and neglect, this was her beginning. Depression is a leading element from abuse and additionally linked to dementia. Did she even have a chance?
Her concept of time is despairing, when she translates days that she has done something she thinks its been weeks, I cannot even imagine what goes through her mind. It is a sad and lonely existence, with fear and anxiety centering ample time in her days. My only option is to give her the best life I am able to give her and she is capable of understanding.