Sunday, May 27, 2012

Life Goes On...

My little Hammy Sammy graduated from Preschool!
He did great on the readiness assessment for Kindergarten, even pretending he couldn't read.
Big Booger!
Can't wait to see how he does next year...

My heart is very full this evening. 
This woman is the reason!
I usually call her Ma, Gramella, Grandma, Delores (when she ignores me!) get the idea!
Mom was diagnosed with dementia about a year ago.
It has been very difficult for me to wrap my brain around that.
She has always been the constant in my life. My champion. Friend.
My mother.
I am glad she lives with my sister.
Nice, safe home.
She has had little memory lapses.
Tells the same story over and over, I have been guilty of filling in parts when the telling is lagging.
Her leg bothers her, hurts her.
She walks with a cane.
She loses the cane and her purse numerous times during any given day.
I have taken to sending my boys over to spend the night when Deb works.
The practice began when she told me of difficulty remembering where she was
when she would wake in the middle of the night.
Nothing was familiar.
So she would sit in her chair and try to remember...
until dawn broke over the desert mountains...
then she would come back to herself.

Having her grandsons there seem to tether her to Earth.

We have had a few experiences taking her to Walmart and losing her.
Now, we try to take one of the boys along to walk with her. 
Her anxiety level is high.
She panics almost without warning.
These events have been mostly manageable until recently.
She and I went to her favorite grocery store for some shopping last week.
We ran into a family friend and chatted for a few minutes.
After we parted ways, Mom leaned over her shopping cart and asked, "Who was that?"
My heart began to crack, just a little.
As we concluded the trip, I called her cell phone to see where she had gotten off to.
I heard the phone ring, located her, and watched her stare at it as she tried to figure out what to do with it.
She looked up, her gaze locking with mine, smiled sheepishly at me and started checking out.
The cashier sweetly instructed her on sliding her card through the reader. As the young lady asked her to enter her PIN, Mom looked at me uncertainly and said she didn't know what that was.
I entered it for her quickly so I could get her into a more controlled situation.
 My heart was tight in my chest as we walked to the van.
I drove while she told me how silly and dumb she felt for not remembering the easy things.
I countered with the opposite and told her not to talk about my mom in that manner.
I got her home shortly after Deb had left for work.
I ran inside to open the garage and came back outside to find Mom looking at the van like she couldn't figure out what to do with it.
When we got her things inside, I said "Mom, would you like Adam to come over to spend the night tonight?"
She looked at me with the clearest focus and replied, "I think that's a good idea."
I cried the entire way home.
Then, I had my husband drive Adam over just so I could cuddle with my little ones for my own comfort.
Today, we went over to Deb's for dinner before Deb went to work.
The kids headed outside immediately to play in the water.
Deb commented Mom was having a "hard time".

Mom started the visit by asking which door she should take Frannie out of so the dog could potty.
She couldn't remember where her bathroom was.
She figured the bedroom with her pictures hanging up was hers.
The children and even my husband thought she was joking around.
But when she looked blankly at Adam when he said, "Della! You are so funny!"
He realized what was happening.

Andrew approached me when I was in Mom's room by myself.
"Mom, what's wrong with Grandma? I don't like it when she pretends like this."

"Andrew, she's not pretending. She has an illness.
We need to love her and do our best to help her remember." 

He nodded thoughtfully.
 I watched my own boy walk into his grandmother, sit down and
very carefully fold himself into a tight snuggle with her.
They were both so content!

It was difficult to leave her tonight.
I asked Adam and Andrew to stay.
With strict instructions to call if they needed anything.

I cry as I write.
I write to deal with what is happening.
 Each of my family will handle this differently.
I feel comfortable posting these events because Mom doesn't get on the computer much anymore.
I will sit with her and look at pictures that are posted by family and friends.
 So she will still feel connected.
I feel such a huge responsibilty towards her.
Not unhealthy, I think.
One of appreciation.
I want to soak up all she tells me!
I want to continue to share her stories with my children...
and their children.

My heart is breaking.
I picture this journey for Mom.
Dark, scary.
With little pin-points of light.
Wanting to be there for her.
To lighten her load and her way.

Do I get impatient with her?
I do my best to rein it in.

Hopefully, tomorrow will bring clarity to her.
She needs a "good" day.
She deserves it!

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