This picture of Mom is a few months old, one of the last times we got out into the community. I hate the blue cord that hangs around her neck with the call button she can never remember to use anyway. Seems so silly to me. I wish I’d taken it off before this picture!
I’ve had a hard time figuring out what I want to say on this blog lately, so I haven’t said much at all. Little fragments of information and stories have been jumping around in my head, but nothing’s been cohering too much.
Nonetheless, I thought I’d write a few words down, especially because I was touched by a reader who just wrote me, saying her parent has the same diagnosis as my mother, and that she got some solace from reading this blog. It always surprises me when readers pop up other than my caregiving blogger buddies, since I don’t advertise or tell family and friends about this virtual space. I wanted a place where I can say anything more or less anonymously, and not worry about what people think!
Summer has been exceptionally brutal for the north; the flowers have mostly all burned up on the patio at Mom’s residence, and they don’t allow the residents out there out of fear that they’ll get overheated. Being the rebel, I push aside the barriers and take Mom out in the evening. We both love heat and I refuse to let summer pass us by while we sit inside like captives.
A bird has nested under the drainpipe by the door, which keeps us occupied if the conversation lags, as it often does these days. Mom can’t grab the words in time, or stay in reality too long. Her mood swings still sneak up now and then, but overall her emotions seem much milder. Even though her communication skills are dwindling, and walking is rare, I feel so grateful that I can still get her to laugh most days, and that out of the blue one of her sarcastic and spot-on comments will come out with a bang when I least expect it. It’s reassuring to know that she’s still “in there”.
I’ve befriended a few older men who come to visit their wives at the Memory Care facility. I can’t imagine their exhaustion and pain, and it’s so endearing to see their devotion, faithfulness, and tender gestures. For whatever reason, I see a lot of these male partner caregivers lately- not too many women at all. They tote in favorite foods in thermoses, bring new clothes, and shower kisses upon their beloveds. One of them must be 95 or older; he hobbles in often- skinny little thing – so upbeat and energetic. And his wife, who everyone assumes is mute, squeals with pleasure and talks a mile a minute when he’s at her side. To see them together makes me cry. So much joy and pain all entwined; such profound love. I wish I could share a picture of them together for you. Maybe some day I’ll ask their permission and risk a lawsuit. It’s that beautiful!