I just finished watching several videos from my visit with mom in January. I start each day watching them which has now replaced the phone calls we use to share. They leave me feeling warm inside as if I am actually with her. How I love to hear her voice and see her smile.
Spending the last seven days with mom had me see how much more our roles have reversed. Mom has, in many ways, become a child; no longer knowing how to get dressed, brush her teeth, comb her hair or eat her meals.
On most days she does not even realize that I exist. She no longer worries or thinks about me as a mother would. For me I think of her constantly as if I were her mother wondering how she is doing. Maybe she is feeling lonely, frightened or sad. I yearn to take her in my arms, cuddle her and protect her from the world. I want to reassure her that everything will be okay.
I cannot stop thinking, how much is she still aware of? What does she know or understand? We are now ten years into her Alzheimer's, yet there are parts of her that still are present. Mom can spell and is able to answer us in a quick witty manner. She'll tell me that her eyes are tearing or that her nose is running and ask if I have a tissue. She'll start to sing a song and fill in her own words as if she were a poet.
Then minutes later she'll ask for us to take her to her home. She'll say she wants to go home yet never questions where she is. She passes by others in the nursing home who are sitting in their wheelchairs as if they do not exist. Once is a while she says hello never questioning us who they are.
I wonder, where does she think she is? She has been here for 1 1/2 years. She is confused each day not knowing if I am her daughter or her friend. I've been married for 34 years and each day she wants to know who this man is.
I question why some people succumb to this disease and why mom in some ways after all these years still is "present". I ask, is she one of the luckier ones? Perhaps yes, although we as caregivers seem to suffer more as we watch our love ones fade away.
So mom, whether I'm walking beside you or miles away, I cannot stop my heart from missing you in more ways than one. I wish that you could truly understand this unconditional love that I now have for you . Only if you could!
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