Mom phoned me the other night just as I was making supper at my house. “I can’t turn the TV on,” she said.
“Press the red button at the top of the remote and point it at the TV,” I said.
“I’m doing that but it doesn’t work.”
“Ok, I’ll be over in a few minutes.”
This happens periodically and has over the past few years. Dad always had control of the remote and changed channels. Since he passed she has learned to press the red button to turn it on. Strangely she does not change channels anymore which is awesome because she would really screw things up when she used to try to do that. I can put the TV on a channel that I know she will enjoy and leave it there. This time when I went over to see what was happening with the TV, I discovered she was using the remote for the DVD player. The TV remote was in the bedroom where she left it when she went for a nap.
A simple fix. Put the DVD remote away where it won’t be used. It would be great to have a remote from my house that I could use to turn on her TV and change channels for her. Maybe there is such a TV that can be programmed for people. That would be cool.
At one time she told me that she was trying to phone me but all she kept doing was changing the channel on the TV. She was using the remote to phone me. She is now good with the phone too. My number is the only number that she remembers and uses. Sometimes she uses it a lot.
But I always try to be respectful, because I know it’s not easy for her to have memory loss. Yet, I have a giggle to myself.
I was looking at a picture of an event that happened five years ago. My mom was at that event and I had to hold her hand to get out of the room because there were a lot of people there. That reminded me that she has been living with dementia for a long time. It started at least ten years ago. That is a long time of her life that she has struggled with memory loss, frustrations and fears. I have come to really appreciate all that my father did for her to make her life easier and enjoyable. It was at a cost to him but one he felt was worth it. She was able to stay in her home and continue on in her marriage and he was able to do this too, until he passed away.
She is quite physically fit for her 84 years. She needs a cane now, which she hates and never uses because she can’t remember to use it. Having memory loss prevents her from participating in social events because she feels anxious if people talk to her. She is afraid she will say the wrong thing. Depression and fears prevent her from going outside and getting exercise. But she enjoys going for a car ride now and then and seeing people she recognizes.
She is still in her own home living alone and somehow doing it. How long can this go on? That’s up to the Creator. As she tells me, “when it’s my time to die, I’m going to die no matter what you do.” And really, I believe she’s right. So it is for all of us.
It’s been one year since Dad passed away. It has flown by because I have been kept busy with mom.
Hard to believe Dad. I hope you are happy with the way that things are going. Your bills are being paid on time, mostly. The lawn is being mowed and the driveway shoveled. Auntie Ethel phones mom regularly to chat. She’ll be 91 this summer. I would love to go and see her. Cousin Olie phones her as well and stays at the house with her when he is in town for church services. Her friends Sopena and Bernice still visit her too.
Mom is still in the house waiting for a room to come available at the Lodge. She is doing alright. She misses you and it’s hard for her because she can’t remember that you passed on to the spirit world. She still waits for you to come home. But she is okay and will be okay because she is loved. Like you were.
Auntie Mary recently passed on too. I hope you get to spend time with her and Uncle Tommy. I hope you get to spend time with Shirley and with Ryan. I hope you get to spend time with your parents.
I miss seeing you drive by, slowly, very slowly. I miss your phone calls asking me to look up something for you on the internet. I even miss worrying about you when you don’t return home from the bush and I have to go looking for you.
It’s not the same without you. Take Ryan fishing! We’re okay.
Last night I dreamed that Ryan was in the hospital. He had been gone a long time and was found. I went to the hospital and he was in a children’s room in a large bed and I could see him through a large window with other children in the room as well. Ryan was about 12 years old.
He was looking towards the window and then he saw me and got out of the bed and came out of that room with all of the other children. There were other parents there waiting to get their children too. When he came out of the room he looked like his 21-year-old self, with a goatee. We hugged each other tightly and he said, “I will never take life for granted again. I will appreciate each day.”
I could feel him. I could feel his should blades. It was so good. I was so happy.
Hug your children. If you can’t physically hug them, then hug them in your heart.
When the phone rings and it’s my mom on the other end asking,”Hi Tass, what’s happening at your house?”, I know now what she’s asking. She is trying to find out if there are people at my house because they are visiting for my dad’s funeral. My dad’s funeral was 9 months ago. She will not usually come out and ask. She will just try to ask questions that give her a clue to the answer. She has pride. And she has fear. She knows she is confused.
I have come to know what answers to give her that will not make her feel bad but will help her to feel okay with what is happening to her. I give her the same answer each time now because it is almost every day that I get asked this question.
I’ve learned that people with dementia can hide it from others by pretending they remember things. It must help them to cope with what it happening to them and they don’t want others to think they are forgetful or that there is something wrong with them.
I’ve learned that the worst thing to ask a person with dementia is, “You remember?”. It is not an easy habit to change. I still will ask my mom things like “remember the time..” or “remember that guy…”. And she still does remember most of her long term memories about her childhood. It’s just that they’re starting to get mixed up with each other.
She is living in the moment and in the distant past.
She calls me Tass sometimes because that was the name my nephew called me when he was little and couldn’t say Kathy. I was Tassy and then Tass.
Happy Mother’s Day Mom
You may not remember what today is
or many other things
but that doesn’t matter
because I remember
I remember the times that you
helped me up when I fell down
spoke comforting words and words
of wisdom to me
and to your grandchildren
You were there when I needed
someone to listen
and you still loved me
no matter what I said or did
At times I now feel like your mother
as I hold your hand to walk
but there is no greater privilege
than doing that for you
Thank you, mom.
Mother’s Day may be a very hard day for those who have lost a child or children, those who have lost a mother, those who have cried to be a mother and those children and mothers who are separated from each other. Please have a Day of Peace and Love.