…two weeks and counting…
I am always looking for signs of mental decline when I visit Mama. A month ago, there was a slight hitch in the thinking. The staff says it is dementia. I tend to think of it as a repeating paranoia. Mom has not had an “episode” in at least three months, as the powers-that-be say. A paranoid thinking that someone is coming to take her away or kill her is a reoccurring theme which stems back to a very real incident in mother’s life. As a young married woman with a wee babe, her first husband had a very serious mental breakdown and told her he was going to kill her and their baby daughter. I think this is one of the most horrendous moments in her life. Mother took their first-born, my older sister, (remember I am the eldest of the second marriage), and ran to the neighbours, lifetime family friends, living on the next homestead.
This one incident was so defining, it has haunted mother for the rest of her entire adult life, an overwhelming fear which pops up time and again. That moment has affected her level of trust in people and to this day she has never truly gotten over it. That moment pops up, cycling through time and every relationship, manifesting in the lack of trust in others. Mother is always on guard for the other shoe to drop, that it will never be safe, that there is always someone or some rule which will cause her security to fall out from under her feet. I have learned to keep mother safe by being there for her, at all costs. Yes, there is a tremendous amount of time and cost involved in taking care of mom. Is it worth it? Yes!
I find that talking while touching her, rubbing lotion on her hands, cream on her face, holding her hand, giving her many hugs and kisses on the forehead or cheek, ground her with security. I hope it reinforces that someone is there for her. I am there and I will fight for her, to the death, if necessary. Last night I was putting all her clean clothes in the closet, including the summer dresses. She could see there were a lot of clothes hanging up. Mom said, “You don’t have to come back for a long time now.” It was so sad to realize that she felt I would not have to come back the next day, that I was just visiting out of duty, not from love and concern for her. I try to visit every day or every other day, depending on the work load. I am not getting the creative writing done and you know what, so what. I am thinking of scenes and setting and dialogue and mood. When I get to sit down, it should just flow, right? Here is hoping.
Stay warm. Stay loved and most of all stay safe. Cheers.