Waving The White Flag
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Published by hillbillycollegegirl
I'm a coal miner's daughter, and proud of my Appalachian heritage. Writing and reading are my passions. I'm a retired barber, loyal friend, and wife. I prefer the mountains but retired to the coast. My ah-ha moment came once I realized a milder climate is kinder to my aging body and senses. My mini-Goldendoodle and two cats are pretty good at hanging out with me while I write. They don't advise or criticize. And for that, I am grateful. I'm an introvert but can switch to being an extravert should the need arise. (Truthfully, given the choice, I'd rather not.) Every day, I pray for guidance and strength. Meandering through life, ain't easy; it's a gift worth cherishing and exploring! View all posts by hillbillycollegegirl
I often wonder if this is the year that I will lose my Mom. With her delusions ever-present, I feel helpless, sad, and lost. I admit that, at times, I dread going to visit her. My sweet mother, my best friend, is no longer there. Mom has been replaced by a gentle-souled woman whose features resemble that of my mother’s. With every visit, I watch this strange yet familiar lady search for her words. I can no longer acclimate her to her surroundings, for she has lost the ability to distinguish between time and place.
Christmas was uneventful and meaningless. She paid no attention to the twinkling lights or the tinsel-trimmed trees. Even the carolers could not capture her attention, if only for a moment. The days of the week hold no significance, be it Saturday or Sunday, Monday or Friday. She is oblivious to the comings and goings of the staff and passersby. She’s pleasant, though, when engaged. From afar, she seems fine. But, in reality, my beloved mother is already gone. It’s her body that lingers on. Such is the life of all the beautiful beings suffering with some form of dementia.
Falls (4 since Christmas) are a common occurrence. I hold my breath when my caller-ID reveals her facility calling. Most days, I’m not sure who Mom thinks I am. She often asks about my parents. Sometimes she refers to me as her sister. Mom may ask where I am, even though I’m sitting next to her. Not long ago, I ventured a bit. I ask her if she had a daughter. She shook her head and then asked me the same. The pain of her answer tongue-tied me and kept me from responding, so I shook my head.
This horrid disease has erased Mom’s short term memory and stolen her dignity. I do not want to watch her lose the ability to swallow and to become bedridden. I never thought I would surrender the fight, but I have. There are so many things in life that are far worse than death, Alzheimer’s being one. Acceptance of what cannot be changed empowers. I see that now. The guilt and anguish that paralyzed me for months are slowly subsiding. My guilt came from believing that I wasn’t doing enough to help my mother’s situation, and my anguish from beating myself up because I could not achieve the impossible. For me, moving forward is critical in self-preservation. Being tormented with feelings of never-ending grief isolates.
For now, I’ll continue writing about my mother’s illness. Writing helps me cope with her disease, and it helps me remember the woman she used to be. I miss my mother’s vibrancy and her quirky sense of humor. I miss her advice and cooking alongside her during the holidays. I miss sharing my day with her and hearing her voice over the telephone.
I know that I’m not alone. So many families are experiencing the same. Anticipating the final breath of life of a loved one with a terminal disease is excruciating. Will it come sooner or later? Does it matter? I know that it will not be easy either way.