We worked hard yesterday. We cleaned, sorted and rearranged part of the garage space that had not been touched in years. So, when it was time to stop, mom went in to the house first, but not without stopping to check the dryer. Maybe it was out of habit or some sort of routine, but she had not done laundry. She opened the dryer and declared that the towels and sheets were still wet. I will chalk my response up to being weary and hot, but I lashed out and told her that I knew and that I had been doing laundry for 40 years and knew what I was doing. With the look that I knew well, she furrowed her brow and said quite calmly, “I was just trying to help.” Well that put me in my place. She promptly turned around, left the room and made sure the door slammed after her.
I suppose I had it coming. I have been reminding myself to be particularly patient and kind. I have to continually tell myself that you may be able to teach an old dog new tricks, but an older person with dementia is not “teachable” so stop trying!
Here was my dilemma – do I apologize or let it go? I knew that with each passing moment the chances of her forgetting was 100% so instead of doing the right thing, I let it pass. Epic fail. Not because she would care or know, but that I would. Doing the right thing means doing something whether or not anyone sees or knows (or not doing something wrong whether any one sees or knows). She would not have remembered the offense or the apology, but I certainly remember and God saw and knows!
We ended the day with her insistence that she lived in California which was connected to Guam and that both were so very hot she required and had installed an air conditioner in her bedroom. After trying to correct her a little, my very patient husband looked at me and said, “Don’t.” He’s right and I knew better.