Saturday, June 29, 2013

Getting the message...

I'm not sure that I've ever felt this low.  Or this lonely.  I've always believed and accepted that I'm supposed to be alone.  And I have always been okay with that.  It's not that I'm not interested, it just never works out for me.

But, there are times, like tonight, that I just want someone to give me a hug and ask me if I am okay.  Because tonight?  I'm not okay.  I will get up tomorrow and try again.  But, tonight I cannot pretend that I'm not lonely. 

I have never felt that my life has been more of a failure than I do right now.  I am a lousy daughter who can show her mother not the smallest amount of compassion.  I have no patience.  I don't like her.  And I am ashamed.  She deserves so much more than what I am giving. 

My brothers have pretty well washed their hands of us.  One still pretends that nothing in this house is, or has been, of any concern to him.  The other brother, for the most part, has not contacted me since Mom started day care.  Mom's times at the day care fall on his days off, so, he is off the hook apparently.

But, legally I cannot walk away.  I am here, giving the little energy I have left to a woman who does everything in her power to see the negative in every situation.  Just like she always did, only now there is no filter.  I am angry, apathetic and depressed. 

And then there are my beautiful girls.  They are my world.  They used to know that.  I doubt that they still do.  I'm sure that they get up each day and ask themselves, "Which Mom will she be today?  The mellow Mom who can laugh and tease with us?  Or the Mom that cries all day?  Or the psycho Mom who screams about dishes not being done and then cries all day?"  Great choices aren't they? 

Yesterday, I read a caretaker's blog that said that our mind will believe what we tell it.  So, we should get up each day and tell ourselves that it will be a beautiful day full of opportunities to be positive.  I try to do that.  I honestly do.  But, lately my life just isn't getting the message.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Treasure in a ziploc...

Just a quick funny...

This morning as I was walking Mom to the Day Care van, I noticed that her purse was a little heavy.  I soon became sorry that I hadn't donned a pair of gloves as I reached in through a dozen or so wadded up tissues, past the beat up wallet that holds childhood pictures of my brothers, and down to where she keeps her abandoned lids, dried bread crusts, paper clips and marbles.  And there it was, the weight.  Apparently, Mom has decided to collect the tableware from her lunches at the day care. I pulled out a knife, fork and spoon. 

As I sheepishly asked the driver to please return my mother's ill-gotten bounty, he started laughing.  I mean gut laughing.  He got Mom buckled in, reached into the front seat and held up a ziploc baggy filled with silverware.  He laughed some more, and told me that at least one family each day comes to the van with at least part of a place setting.  He was impressed that Mom had gotten the entire set. 

Fast forward to this afternoon when Mom arrived home...

Each time I meet Mom at the van and try to coax her off, I always check to see whether she has her purse.  We all know how crucial that purse is to the peace of this household.  Anyway, today, she was sent home with a "dummy" purse.  While, Jose helped Mom down, I checked the contents of the decoy purse to make sure that there weren't any more pilfered utensils.  I pulled out a sock, a ratty, faded blue wash cloth, a flyer for last year's haunted house and a toothbrush.  The treasures in that purse made me feel much better about her choice to steal silverware. And whether a little old lady here in town was driving her family crazy looking for an old, blue rag. . 

Saturday, June 22, 2013

No right...

It's 2 am and here I sit typing.  It's what I do when things get really bad.   It somehow helps me make sense of the senseless.  But, tonight there is no sense.  Just an overwhelming feeling of failure and shame.

Sometimes, on nights like these, I will sit in Mom's room while she fights the pills that will give us all a few hours of peace, and know just what I will say here.  Tonight, my words fail me.  Sitting here looking at a mostly blank page, I realize that I have said it all before.  I am still that person who complains and fails to do anything to make it better.  And until I find a way to do just that, I have no right to the words that console me.

Friday, June 21, 2013

I'm so scared...

Well, things are pretty normal around here.  Wow, that's probably the scariest sentence that I have ever typed.  This is normal?  Wow.  That, in itself, is a profound commentary of my daily experiences.  Here are some observations of my normal:

-Katie was outside riding her scooter up and down our very long driveway.  Mom is standing next to the driveway.  As Katie scoots by, Mom says, "Don't leave!  Please, don't leave!"  Katie reaches the end of the driveway, turns around and heads back the other direction.  And Mom says, "Don't leave! Please, don't leave!"  And, for a few minutes, I know they are both safe.

-As I am sitting here typing, Mom is on the couch, across the room, panicking.  She apparently needs to be somewhere, anywhere, other than here.  She keeps saying that she needs to get away.  She is repeatedly addressing me as "Sir."  I ignore her.  Finally, in her best Mom voice from my childhood, she says, "Nancy!  Are you listening to me?"

-I have become used to Mom yelling at strangers in the store. "They're leaving!  You're not going to let them leave without us are you?"  Or, pointing at a young lady, "There you are!  Get back over here right now!"  Or, her yelling in an impatient voice at a young man looking at a display,  "Are you coming?"  The saddest was when she wouldn't leave Burger King unless she could tell them thank you.  She approached the  manager, hugged him and cried on his shoulder until I had to pry her off.

-When I get Mom dressed each morning, as I hand her a pair of pants, she always checks the waistband and turns the pants around to correctly put them on.  And, when I hand her the pair of shoes, she always places the right show on the right foot and the left shoe on the left.  So, why is it that she can come out during the day with her underwear on the outside of her pants? And strut it likes its the latest trend.  Or, most evenings, after she goes to her room, she comes out with a shirt pulled on as a skirt with the neckline as the waist band?

And, her favorite declaration, that must sum up her perception of her current situation, "I'm scared.  I'm so scared that it scares me!"

Friday, June 14, 2013

Where are my shoes...

Mom is standing here in the living room with one bare foot and a sock on the other...

Mom:  I need my shoes.
Me:  They're in your room.
Mom:  What?
Me:  Your shoes are in your room.
Mom:  (crying)  My shoes are gone.
Me:  No, they're in your room.
Mom:  (looking outside) What's that? 
Mom: It's green and brown and it's moving.
Mom:  I need my shoes.
Me:  They're in your room.
Mom:  Where'd my shoes go?  They were right there.
Me:  Would you like me to go get them?
Mom:  NO! There aren't any shoes in there.
Me:  I will get them if you want.
Mom:  NO!  I'm supposed to have shoes!
-looking under the dining room table-
-sitting on the couch-
Mom:  I see 3 real ones. That's all I see. I got nothing.
Me:  Would you like me to go get your shoes?
Mom:  In my shoe? What's in my shoe? I don't have a shoe. Oh, wait, I have a half of one.  I like them.
Me: Go in your room and get your shoes.
Mom:  That's not fair to you. I don't have any dirt because they took it away from me. That's why my brothers and sisters aren't home. 
-goes to her room-
Mom:  Are my shoes in here? They were one day. That's why they took them away from me. I'm scared now. I'm scared. I'm so hungry.
-I go into her room.  Pick up the pile of shoes that don't belong to her and hide them in the hall closet.  I go back in and hand her a sock and a pair of shoes.-
-She comes out and sits on the couch in the living room.-
Mom:  What's this?  Why are there so many?  I don't have any shoes.  Why is there only one sock?  Where are my shoes?  Thank you for this.  Why is there only one sock?  I can't wear just one sock. 
Me: Put the sock on your foot.
Mom:  I don't have anything on my foot!  Oh!  Okay.  I have a pair.  But where are my shoes?
Me:  They're right beside you.
Mom:  What is? 
-she leaves the room-
-comes back-
Mom:  I found my feet.
-leaves the room-
-I can hear her mumbling... scared, hungry, please, shoes-
-She comes back and brings a sock.-
Mom: It's not fair. I only have one sock.
-She folds it up and shoves it in her pants-.
-She picks up the shoes and sets them down neatly beside her feet-
Mom:  Where are my shoes? 

Okay, I'm gonna wrap this up. I could go on but, yeah, why?  Darn it.  I just looked over there and she is taking her socks off.  And back to the beginning we  

Fast forward... the shoes are on and the next conversation begins:
Mom:  I am so hungry.  I haven't had anything to eat for 3 days.  Did you have breakfast?

Tuesday, June 11, 2013


This morning was a morning that I said my thanks many times over for the opportunity to send Mom to Day Care.  And, I swear I almost kissed the driver when he showed up early. 

After years of fighting with Mom over bathing, I had finally found a way to get her into the shower with minimal argument.  I simply had to wake her up and tell her that she had to take a shower.  If I wait until she is up, she will fight me every time.  So, this morning I went in and asked her to get up and take a shower.  And the brawl began.  I was able to trick her into the bathroom but that was where my luck ran out.  She leaned against the wall and refused to budge.  I mean refused.  I cajoled.  I begged.  I joked.  I reasoned.  I tried reverse psychology.  I threatened.  I bribed.  I undressed her.  I tried to force her (don't let anyone tell you that a 115 pound 78 year old is weak)  Katie came in and tried helping, coaxing, etc.  No go.  And without going into too many details, I couldn't just let it go.

She stood there wearing nothing but her pants around her ankles (that's as far as I could get them) and told me story upon story of why she couldn't shower... she already showered, she was allergic to water, there was no water, she was a boy and boys don't have to shower, she wasn't actually there, her parents were going to be here soon and they would be mad, she was invisible and I couldn't see her, she was allergic to soap, she didn't have time, she was hungry, she would die if she showered, "he" won't let me, she couldn't get in there as long as I kept hitting her, there was no towel, there were no clothes.  Somehow, after 45 minutes of reasons, I got her into the shower and it started all over again... she's getting wet, she was hungry, she used soap yesterday, etc.

On to her breakfast of eggs and toast... she can't eat this because there are no eggs, she can't see the eggs, why can't she have eggs, she's too hungry to eat, she can't eat this because she doesn't like eggs, there's too much here, this toast is nasty, where's her toast, she's hungry, this isn't what she asked for, do I want half, she's not eating this, she's hungry, she hasn't eaten in 3 days, that boy said she didn't have to eat.

I just read back through what I have written.  And it sounds like I'm making it up.  I'm not.  Believe me when I say that when the van pulled up, I jumped up and would have dragged her if she didn't go under her own steam.  I cannot imagine (and don't want to remember) what our day would have been like had she been home with me all day.  Instead, I will remember to give thanks for the break.  And hope that by tonight, she has perfected the invisibility talent. 

Sunday, June 9, 2013

I hate Alzheimer's...


As much as I hate it, I hate myself more for allowing it to control who I am and how I react to the changes that it has made in my life.  It makes me feel weak, intolerant and angry.  I hate that people feel sorry for me.  I hate that anyone could be better at this than I am.  I hate the example that I am showing my children.  I hate that I cry over nothing. And everything.  I hate that my children are worried about me. I hate that I am not the person that I thought I was.  But, mostly I hate that I am doing nothing to change any of it. 

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Stop kicking the dog...

Yesterday a friend shared a blog about a woman who was so stressed by the demands of today's fast paced life, that she became a yeller.  She would scream at her small children for their simplest mistakes.  Everyday things that all kids do.

For many years, I was a fairly calm person.  When my kids were small and they damaged or broke something, my answer was, "It is just a thing. Things can be replaced.  My kids can't."  I was by no means a Saint.  I had my lapses of patience.  But, for the most part, I was a fairly calm Mom.

Fast forward a few years and I am now an emotional wreck and a yeller.  I yell about the slightest mistake.  I go ballistic over an eye roll.  I cry for hours over a stranger's cruel words.  In short, I am falling apart.  My patience has reached its point of exhaustion.  I feel like that old story of the guy who lives alone and takes out his frustrations by kicking his dog every night when he gets home.  When someone asked him why he did it, he said that he doesn't have anyone else who cares.  As wrong as it is, we take out our frustrations on the ones who love and count on us most.

So, what is the answer?  I think the answer is choice.  I need to remind myself that my children are more important than my frustrations.  And I need to try to stop feeling like I am failing every one who is counting on me.  I need to remember that I am who I choose to be.  And if I am not happy with that person, then I am the only one who can change it. As the woman in the blog said, I need to choose a peaceful response.  I need to stop kicking the dog.