This morning, as I argued with Mom over 3 slices of banana, I realized that what I miss most from Before Alzheimer's is peace. There is very little peace in our world anymore. And there hasn't been for a very long time. Even while I was still at work, the phone ringing was met with apprehension. Had Mom gotten lost again? Was she having an episode because she didn't want to be alone? Did she forget to take her pills or take too many? Did the neighbors have to call 911 because she was convinced that she was dying?
Now the peace is destroyed by late night wanderings, screams in her sleep, the listings of her miseries, and the never ending complaining. She cannot be satisfied. She cannot be happy. She asks for things that she does not want. She wants things that have no names. And she cannot find peace. She becomes angry at the sound of laughter. She has no understanding of the pain of others. Her entire world is her and her unhappiness. Even her calmness is nothing more than agitation sitting down.
But, most of the lack of peace can be traced back to me and my reactions to all of this. The 3 banana slices situation wasn't really an argument as much as a series of fragmented attempts to have a conversation. She misunderstands the simplest of sentences and then becomes nasty when I try to explain. I try so hard to be patient. But, my patience ran out years ago. My mind knows that this disease is cruel and selfish. Just reading the last paragraph re-emphasizes the horror that she confronts every day. But, selfishly, my heart cannot abide the turmoil of it. I'm tired of arguing about everything. The doctor says, "Then don't argue. You cannot win." No I can't. But always losing has lost all of its luster and has taken the peace with it.