I FEEL MOM DRIFTING AWAY
My mom will be eighty eight years old in fourteen days. For this I am quite grateful. Yet the last few weeks I can feel how she is starting to drift further away. One could say like a boat lost at sea, or caught in the mist of a dense fog.
Yes, we still have our special moments, and I can still hear the sound of joy and laughter coming from her as we speak. I just notice that they are becoming less frequent. At times her voice sounds more lethargic and somewhat listless . Perhaps it is that she is moving further along with her Alzheimer's, and also being eighty eight makes her no spring chicken.
In the beginning of the week my mom sounded disoriented, complaining about back pains. She did not know where she lived, and only wanted to go back home, for fear that her mom would be worried about her. We were fortunate to realize that mom was having a UTI.(urinary tract infection) and quickly got her on an antibiotic. We were down this path several months ago, so we are now educated about what to do for her. It is several days later now and mom sounds "back to normal".
My mom will kid around with me and tell me that I am catching up to her in age. "How about your height"? I ask of her. Mom who is under five feet tall, responds with" who knows maybe I still will grow". At moments like this her humor warms my heart.
I try my best to keep her mind stimulated. Mom has been an excellent speller and always had a great vocabulary. She seems to still get ninety percent of the words she spells correct. Yet when I ask her to spell Portugal, she says to me "what's that?, I never heard of it". Or she'll say" what is a lobster" ?, which mom use to love to eat. "Mom, can you spell illusion", "I never heard of that word". "Okay mom spell delusion" which she was able to do as simple as 1,2,3.
Her voice seems more tired and there are more days when she wants to take a nap. Mom was someone who never napped. I wonder if she is up all hours of the night, since I'm aware that people with Alzheimer's have awkward sleep patterns. Day is night and nights can be day.They do not realize the difference, as if they are all rolled into one.
On the other side of this cloud is still some sunshine. My mom asked when am I coming to visit, after I had just described how foggy it was outside. She then was able to respond with that I shouldn't come to the sky brightens, because she would never want anything to happen to me.
"Mom, you can really break my heart, when you say things like that ". I continue with,"do you know how very much I love you"? She then answers with,"no, I know you love me ,but I do not understand what much means". I try to explain with a little surprise in my voice. Mom has difficulty understanding what the word "much" means. I quickly move past this conversation .
No matter which way our conversations go, and no matter how much she is drifting away, I still hold on to how lucky I am. On most days we are still able to speak and laugh. I cherish all our silly conversations and delight in the moments of joy that we still can share. I have no idea how long my mom will be able to remember who I am, or my name, so today as always I am thankful for all that we still can share, as she seems to drift away.