I am so upset and my thoughts are so jumbled that I don't know exactly how to put them into words. I will do what I tell my kids to do... I will just start at the beginning and work my way through.
There was a power outage this morning for a few hours. Our phones were almost dead, so we decided to go get a quick lunch and charge them in the car. We went to Burger King because it's cheap and Mom is pretty relaxed there. We ordered and chatted with the lady (Krystal) behind the counter who has befriended us. Everything was going well, Mom had already tried to hit on the man behind us in line, so it was business as usual. But, as we walked away, scratch that... As Katie and I walked away, Mom leaned over to Krystal and loudly said, "Don't make me go with her, she'll hurt me if you do." From there it only got worse.
Mom refused to move from the counter and effectively stopped the store in her tracks. No one could order. Every one stared. Mom yelled that she wouldn't move because "she" (me) would kill her. It took some coaxing, but Krystal came from behind the counter and finally got Mom to move further into the dining room. But, that was as good as it was going to get. She wouldn't let anyone help her and she would yell if I came within 15 feet of her. She told anyone who would listen that I was going to hurt her, kill her, slit her throat, murder her, etc. I was so embarrassed, frustrated and hurt. I was embarrassed because people were staring and talking. If you know me, I don't like being the center of attention. Frustrated because it is my job to take care of her, to prevent these types of outbursts and to calm her if they occur anyway. And I was hurt because, as irrational as it is, it was still my own mother accusing me of horrific things... in front of people who have no way of knowing the truth.
After a good seven or eight minutes of screaming and yanking herself away from anyone who offered to help, (yes, people offered, one lady stepped in and tried to help mom to her own table to join her for lunch) Katie was able to talk Mom into sitting down only by promising that she wouldn't let me join them. I was left standing in the front of the store sobbing. A big, rough looking man stepped forward, rubbed my arm and said, "Don't worry about it, we all have parents." The lady who had offered Mom her own lunch, came and gave me a big hug and pulled a chair out and let me sit with her family so that I could watch Katie and Mom from a distance. She offered me lunch and something to drink and just chatted like we were old friends until I was able to calm myself. Various people offered sympathetic smiles or a hand on my shoulder as they passed by to their tables. Krystal promised to pray for us.
I could see that Mom was eating and Katie was getting frustrated, so I joined them. Mom's focus had moved away from me being the one that would hurt her. But, she was still paranoid. We were told to watch for "her" or "that guy that is going to kill her".
We finally made it to the car, where Mom promptly laid down to hide from "him". The entire trip home she asked me to look behind the care and see of "she" was still after her.
As we sit here safely at home, I am trying to focus on the kindness of the many strangers who stepped forward to help. Mom is dozing on the couch with no memory of her outburst. And, I realize that is the only mercy of Alzheimer's.