Tears of Dementia

Mom often goes on the van bus tour in the morning with some of the other residents.  They drive around the more remote areas and enjoy the scenery of colorful leaves, farm land with pumpkins, flowers, houses and just enjoying the peacefulness of the ride.

This morning she was being the first one loaded onto the van.  Since she is pretty much confined to a wheel chair she needs to be lifted into the van while still seated in her chair.  Well, they had a little trouble with the lift this morning and it took a few minutes of her sitting and waiting before being loaded.  While she was sitting she noticed the words on the side of the van and read them out loud.      The Crows Nest Inn – Memory Care.  (Of course that is not the real name of the facility)

I thought Oh Crap!  Well, she didn’t say anything about it but I could see the wheels turning in her head.  We didn’t have to wait much longer and she was loaded into the van with no mention of the words she had just read.  I gave her a kiss and  a hug and told her I Love You and I would be there waiting for her when she returned.  When the van returned the driver told me mom had a great trip.  Mom and I went to her room so she could pee and then we sat on her bed and I could see she wanted to talk.  So we did.

mom:  I’m just not right and I know it.  I don’t know what is wrong with me but I know I’m not right.  I don’t know what has happened to me. Nobody wants to be around me anymore.  I’m nobody. (I start to get teary) I know there are people who live here and I could go out and talk with them but I don’t know them. Mom is teary too.
me:  I know it can be hard when you don’t know people.  I’m that way too.  When I don’t know people I kind of stand back. 
mom:  I know that this is a retirement home and many of these people live here.  And it’s good because they need to have help.  And I’m thankful when the girls that work here help me.  I don’t always need the help but it’s nice they are here and they probably need the money so I let them help me.
me:  I’m glad that you have help if you want it.
mom:  I am glad that you come to see me because I don’t like to be alone.  And I’m alone so much of the time.  (We are both just talking through our tears)
me:  I love you.  I feel badly when you’re sad.
mom:  Oh, I’m not sad.  I’m very comfortable.  I have everything I need and I have people around me.  I could go out and talk to them but I don’t.  I know that there are always people around and that’s good, I’m not alone.
me:  I’m glad you’re not alone too.  It’s no fun to be alone.
mom:  I love you.  I just don’t want to be around people I don’t know.  I don’t know what to say to them.  If I had known them for a long time and we were friends I would know what to say.  We would have things in common.  I know it’s me.  It’s my own fault.  I’m just not right any more.  I use to be able to have conversations with people but I don’t do that any more.
me:  They probably feel the same way you do.  They don’t know people here either.  That is really difficult.   I wish I could fix that for you.
mom:  Oh, there’s nothing you can do.  Sometimes we just need to accept the way things are and do the best we can.  We make our problems by the way we think about things.  (I am so astounded by that statement that it makes me teary again.)
me:  You are a smart lady.  Many people wouldn’t see things that way and I agree with you.  We certainly make many of our own problems.
mom:  I’m glad you are here with me.  You are a special daughter and I’m lucky to have my family.  Many people here don’t have family and they don’t have any visitors.  I’m lucky, I have a wonderful family who visits me. 

We smile at each other and we share a big hug and a heartfelt I Love You.  I then suggest we have some coffee and she agrees.  We wheel out into the hallway to do some “people watching.”  She sits there and waits for me while I fetch the coffee.


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