I went to visit my mother today, since I hadn't seen her for a week, due to our being in Santa Barbara. I stayed my usual hour and at one point I wondered which was worse -- having your mother die, or having her live, but not the person you've known all your life.
I wanted to share with her the things we did, since she always wants to know what I'm doing that's exciting. I gave her an outline of the things we did, who we saw, where we went. She looked passively through it all and then said what she always says "Well, life goes on whether you want it to or not." Then she told me she's old.
I brought my iPad so I could show her photos. Each time she saw Bri in a photo she would say "who is that little girl?" and when I told her she'd ask who her parent was.
We went through the weather discussion several times -- is it hot or cold? It can't be hot because I can see a leaf moving, so there's a breeze.
I tried family news. I told her that my cousin Donna is moving out of Marin county. She didn't know who that was. I said "Remember Shirley had the three daughters with D names -- Debbie, Denise and Donna?" She said she guessed she had never met them. When prodded she did remember that Denise comes and gives her manicures.
She reminded me she's old. She really looked old today. Kind of limp and, the usual staring out the widow, uninterested in anything.
I asked her if she had heard from Ed (her stepson on whom the sun rises and sets) and at first she couldn't remember who that was.
Compared to things I read in my dementia support group on Facebook, I am so much luckier than many people, who are dealing with parents with really severe dementia and Alzheimers, but I just wish I could ignite a spark in her for anything. I was thinking of dear Nancy, who died of Alzheimers a couple of weeks ago. To the end, every photo you saw of her she was smiling broadly and enjoying life, even if she wasn't sure who the people around her was. I would love to see a smile like that on my mother's face. (The smile on the photo below was a fluke and I had to wait a long time to capature it)
I miss my mother, dammit, and I don't know how to get through to this nice, vacant old lady who is sitting in her place.
But life goes on...whether you want it to or not.