Sunday, April 17


Mom and I are watching the final of the Monte Carlo tennis tournament this Sunday afternoon...well, I am sort-of watching while I read caregiving blogs and write my own. It was a hard night last night. Mom was up numerous times, getting dressed, looking for dishes for lunch, finding the whole idea (when I attempted to explain it-I still try to reason with Mom too much even tho' I know it is pointless) of sleeping when it is dark outside rather amusing and implausible. Ah me...

The worse part was when I just couldn't reassure her and she stopped using words and "chattered"her teeth at me. Mom has been doing this more often and it is undermining the atmosphere of normalcy that we strive for. But I am aware that part of the heaviness that accompanies such changes is my fear that life with Mom will become less peaceful, less bright, less polite. And I am aware that my wanting of everyday life to stay close to what we are accustomed to is probably folly. And I am aware that as Mom can't help any of this, it is up to me to keep learning how to handle it all. Last night and today, that has meant a combination of anguished moments looking at the moon before bed, felt prayers for Mom and me and every other struggling person on this planet, escape into books and movies, dark chocolate, tears just enough below the surface that Mom won't see them, filling my eyes with the brightness of the dogwood blossoms through the living room window.

I am not getting outside enough these lovely Spring days. The temperatures in the seventies seem to always be accompanied by a delightful-to-me but unwelcome-to-Mom cool breeze. Getting her outside and set-up comfortably doesn't usually seem worth the effort for the short time she will be happy there. But I need to make the effort anyway, for my own well-being. I have felt too stuck lately, choosing to hang out in front of the tv with Mom because it is easier than anything else. What I need are hours pulling weeds and planting  seedlings and just laying upon the flowery earth.

We are in a phase, I suppose, a phase that will pass and then circle around again. Just now, we are very aware of all that this commitment calls for from us. My husband I cling to each other sometimes in the kitchen when something  unnerving has happened with Mom. We wonder how we will go on without the cheerful, funny presence of our youngest son who will be graduating in a few months. We wonder about so many things. And we feel so many things. And we keep going on. Finding other perspectives always helps, Mom's naptime is coming, and I just returned from a few fresh and sunny moments outside letting the goats back into their paddock and listening to the hens gentle murmurs. 

I will keep trying to reassure Mom whenever I am able, and myself, as well. It will be alright, not all
of the time, but enough.

*Just finishing up here after a spell of weeding amongst the rosemary and lavender, and a quick lunch of homemade guacamole and tortilla chips (and getting Mom back to sleep during her nap)...I know I have to shift...that the childish faces and sounds she is making show me how lost and helpless she feels...that I will have to enter more whole-heartedly than I have been able to into responding to her as a mother would to her child. I have been resisting the stuffed animals and the soothing and helping her more. Why? I think I have worried that these things would hurry her along the path she is on, that they will deplete me when I feel like I have been "storing" up energy and strength for even harder days ahead...and because it just feels odd and hard to me. Just this afternoon I caught Mom's eye during the tennis match...she was animated for a moment and for an even briefer moment I saw the old Mom, beautiful Lo Padgett, my loving mother and rather amazing woman. Then she was gone and I saw the frail, confused mom who needs me so much. I will step up my game, I will try to be more what Mom needs me to be right now and make sure not to lose myself in the meanwhile.


melissa said...

Take care of yourself, because this is so hard for you. Exhausting, I imagine. I'm not experiencing the same things as you are with my mom, but in a teeny tiny way I understand.

Capture those moments of refreshment while you can. Breath in the outside air and step outside the situation every so often.

You are one sweet daughter, I hope you know.

sandra said...

You are in my prayers and I hope you can enjoy the small moments of Spring any chance you get. Blessings to you and your Mom.

Anonymous said...

You have done a most selfless and loving thing by having your mother live with you. There is enough adjustment in that alone, and then the constant adjustment that comes with taking care of someone with dementia. I just hate to read that you are being so hard on yourself. Caregiving is all about learning as we go, and that's not easy. Also, I find myself saying this in support group quite often: Of course, we want the best for our loved ones. But we matter, too, and our lives and happiness matter, too.

Megan said...

What a lovely post. I support you in your desire/need to get out in the sun and the dirt, as you might have guessed! Can you wrap your mom up in a winter parka with dark pants and prop her in the sun by a birdfeeder? My mom gets a kick out of bird antics.

Emily had a good point above. What would your mom want for you if she were in her right mind? Would she want you stuck in front of the TV with her, missing spring? Missing sleep at night?

I know you're in a really hard place. It sounds like your heart is giving you pretty clear messages, as you described. Hope you're able to find a way to follow them.

Would it be helpful to use an OTC (or stronger) sleep aid for your mom at night, or does that not help her issue?

And a side note: it might just be mycomputer, but you might want to check your link towards the end of your post within the text. I couldn't get it to work today.

Take care!

Karen E. said...

Oh, Lesley, my heart goes out to you. I cannot imagine your life right now, but I'm moved beyond measure at what you're doing.