Monday, July 14, 2014

planes of time

"I think I need to let my family know I won't be getting home tonight," my mother says to me anxiously as I help her into bed.
I know she is lost in time but I say cheerily, "Well I'm your daughter. You can't get any more family than that!"
She seems comforted but minutes later, she suddenly appears in the doorway of the room I'm reading in.
"I think I need to let my Dad know I won't be home," she declares emphatically.
I always try to sooth my mother when she is confused without adding to her delusion. Just reminding her that she is a woman in her eighties has worked at times to bring her back to the present.
"How old do you think you are?" I ask gently.
"Fourteen," she says. almost like a question.
"Fourteen?" I repeat, momentarily caught off guard.
"Oh....or twelve," she says, misunderstanding my look of disbelief.

Dementia is a confusing state of mind.
My mother can still have a conversation.
Still has opinions about things.
Still makes jokes.
Still cares and is still interested in life around her.
It's just that the planes of time are gone.
She is here and there somehow at the same time.

The mother of my childhood was a woman, gentle and dependable. She was just always there.......doing the things mothers just did.
I never really thought about it.
As a teenager it occurred to me that my mother was eccentric and maybe she was.
She never marched in step with popular culture even when she was a teenager herself.
I realize, in looking back that the beginnings of her mental decline happened much earlier than any of us were aware.
She became somewhat distant and detached.
Her contributions to conversation were not always what the moment called for.
She began to loose her large and ready vocabulary.
She began to forget and just never stopped.


Cathy said...

I've not had to bear this experience with a parent. I can only imagine how difficult it must be. My heart goes out to you and your family.

Glenda said...

Thank you Cathy.