Monday, September 13

Grace's daughter

My mother's mother was named Grace. As I wrote a little
bit about her at The Bower a few days ago, I found myself
writing "Grace's daughter" when I mentioned having to end
the post to go and pick up my mom from respite care. Ever
since, that way of thinking about my mom has been running
through my mind and my heart.

Choosing to take my mom under our wing was our
natural (tho' weighty) response to her her children,
also simply as humans reacting with compassion, I believe
(Does that sound too simplistic? For I know you can be filled
with great compassion for someone in the same situation and
not make the same decision...)...there were many layers.

Now there is a new one, because now I think of my
grandmother, watching me care for her daughter.
That is a new and beautiful-and sobering idea. My
mother, seemingly unquestioningly, took care of my
grandmother in our home for the last nine or ten
years of her Grandma Grace did not have
dementia, but she had had a leg amputated and
my grandfather had died a year before she came to us,
so she couldn't live alone in St. Augustine any longer.
Probably alot of questioning went into the decision-
making and the living out of it....I was in my teen years
and didn't pay attention to those undercurrents.

The dementia makes it a very different sort of
experience for me than my mom had with her mother...
and yet, my mom took care of her mom...and because of
that, I got to know my grandmother more deeply than I
would have otherwise. And it is comforting and
strengthening to me to think that I now have
Grace's daughter in my care and can feel Grace's
approval and love.

Wednesday, September 8

Hello! I am Lesley, your cruise director.....

...that's what it feels like sometimes around here...
rather often around here, actually. Especially on days like
today when I am bit under the weather and also have tasks
like book-keeping to take care of.

My sweet Mom comes out of her room after her nap and
sits down heavily in the chair next to me, then sighs and
looks bored. I suggest her book, but that hasn't been
a popular activity lately (I shall have to do a little subtle
sleuthing to see if she is having any trouble with reading,
or if she just needs a new book). And indeed, she rejects
that idea. I am not up to a walk...mentally or physically. It
takes mental strength to go on walks with Mom as I must
match my steps to Mom's slow ones and, inevitably the
same observations and questions come up in each and
every walk....but today I am also too tired physically
(just allergies, I think!).

So, I have been researching off and on today, trying
to find an attractive, inexpensive latch-hook rug kit. My
mom and her mom actually used to do these in the '70s
when my grandmother lived with us. It was one of the
few crafts that my mom spent any time with. She doesn't
knit, crochet, sew or even mend. I wonder if you lose
those skills with dementia? They, somehow, seem
un-losable...but as my mom never had them, her
hands are often unoccupied these days. Perhaps
the latch-hooking will soon fill both her hands
and her empty moments.

In the meantime, there is always dishwashing
(what she is doing right now-thank goodness my son
didn't get on it as quickly as he was supposed to!).
And we clean the house together now-Mom is in charge
of dusting and I do the vacuuming and bathrooms.
Folding clothes is a good one, especially if the things
are small....but I shall be working on storing up
some pleasant, independent activities for Mom
when books, tv, and chores pall. This has been on
my mind for months now, as the dementia shrinks
the already small list of things Mom likes to do.

For now, I will keep the beautiful magazines
nearby to hand to her in boring moments, and
the hummingbirds are still here for her to watch,
and I am sure I will get up the strength to go on a
walk tomorrow.....And, of course, I am aware that
that there is much more to this than the simple
problem is my guilt over not taking
more time to figure it all is my sadness
about the diminishment of my mom's
interests and abilities.

P.S. Indeed, my son accompanied my mom on
her walk today and I had the good fortune to win
a UK ebay auction for this rug kit. I am so thankful...
there are some shockingly ugly rug kits out there
in the world!