I have seen at least a couple of movies that have a “Groundhog Day” type of plot. All of them are quite funny until you feel like you are living it in full color. Somehow, her favorite days are Sunday and Tuesday…at least for the last few weeks. She doesn’t seem bothered by the fact that she no longer knows what day it is or even what time it is. She used to live by her cell phone – constantly opening it to see the day, date, and time. Nowadays she doesn’t even know where her cell phone is much less opening it to be “up to date”.
I’ll tell you what does bother her – when I have to remind her repeatedly what we are doing and why we are doing it. There is this little – and I mean little piece of her that somehow understands that she SHOULD know better, but no matter how hard she tried, she can’t produce a lick of understanding. In her more salient moments, she has told me that her memory is bad and she can’t quite understand what is the matter. Those are the moments I am most sad for her because explaining it would be useless so I am at a loss to help her erase the feeling of despair and sadness that I see in her blue/gray eyes.
Most of the time, those blue/gray eyes show no depth. She can get delighted. Sad. Frustrated. Downright Angry. But those moments are fleeting and she soon forgets why she is having feelings and we are back to the blank gaze into the space in front of her.
I miss my mother. She and I used to talk every day while I drove home from work. My commute was at least an hour so we had plenty of time to catch up. She would always ask me how she could pray for me and at the same time, I could ask her for the wisdom she was well known for in her circles. She is gone, my mother – that mother from whom all I wanted was approval and love.
The mother that lives with us looks very much like the original, but it is as if someone came in the middle of the night and took a big chunk of her and now we can’t find it or even patch the gaping hole up with chunks of our own memories. Oh we have tried, my sisters and I, to remind her. We talk about our memories and made scrapbooks and photo albums and filled her walls with mementos. The connection is just gone.
Hmmm. I didn’t mean to head in that direction today. I really meant to start sharing stories, but this is not about her diagnosis or stage or even type. This is about preserving whatever is left and learning to live with our mother with joy, peace, compassion, and love. This is about dealing with feelings and how to sort out this process that has become a lengthened grieving and let’s face it – a burden. There, I said it.