Tuesday, October 20, 2015

31 Moments in Time :: do you know my son Mike?

Liz, Barb, Mike & Chris 1-1-15

You know those times when something is going on and you wish you could just video it all because you know the retelling will not be half as funny as the real deal? Yeah, that's family dinner night 'round here.  And I'd love to tell you a funny story about tonight's dinner because it had some hysterical moments, but sadly for me, it's starting to lose its' funny. I've reached a point in this dementia walk with my mom where I am finding it hard to be around her. I miss my dementia group. They were such a big help in dealing with all the 'stuff'. Our counselor moved to sunny Arizona where I know she is having the time of her life and I am happy for her.

Tonight I found my mom in her usual chair with a photo album in her lap and a pen in her hand. She was writing in the album. When I approached her she asked me if I knew her son, Mike and she showed me his picture.  Under it she had written, "My son Mike".  Then she showed me the next picture and said, "This is my daughter Liz", and this was also written under her picture.  She asked me if I knew the other people in the pictures.  Two things stood out to me. The first was the way she asked the questions, as if I was not their sister, as if I was some random person that walked in the door. The second thing was the notes in the album were for her.

She doesn't remember anymore that I was born on her birthday, an event we have celebrated enthusiastically for 51 years now.  When reminded, she used to say, "Oh that's right, I know that." But now it is utter surprise. I am disappearing from her mind... we are all disappearing from her mind, and she is disappearing from me.

Following is a story from my writings that I never published on my blog before but I feel it so intensely tonight that I will finally share it. The song at the end was included with it when I wrote it back in February of this year. 

I don't dream much but the last few nights, I've dreamt of my mom when she was younger. This past Monday we had dinner together as we usually do on Mondays, and I discovered that she doesn't remember anymore that I have asthma. I've had it since birth and during my younger years was often times very sick with it. They say that for the loved ones of dementia patients, it's a continual process of grieving as you watch the repeated losses of who your loved one is, of what they remember, of what they can do for themselves. Over the last few years of watching my mother go through this I have experienced these losses but this one struck me particularly hard and I have struggled to figure out why. You know the day will come when your loved one no longer knows you, and I have tried to prepare myself for that, but no matter how many things you think of or how you think it will be, you are never really prepared. And even though my mother still knows me, and will for some time I believe, I have been brought to the realization that one day I will no longer exist to her and it has occurred to that I am mourning the loss of myself... I don't know the meaning behind the song, Holding On and Letting Go, by Ross Copperman or why it was written, but to me it is the essence of dementia. Click on the link below to listen.

Holding On and Letting Go

This story was written as part of a 31 day writing challenge. 
To read more of my stories in the challenge, click on my Link. Thanks!

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