Dementia and it’s early sign is the topic of today: so I will get the useful link UP FRONT: Early Alzheimer’s Symptoms.
When did I know that my mother had a problem? Many people want to know when it started, and the better question is ‘When did my mother’s memory problems start FOR ME?’
At my sister’s Grad School commencement.
Mom threw a bit of a cake and punch back at their home in Northeast Ohio. Simple. Just my little family, sis and the parents. When it was all over, Mom put the leftover grad paper plates in a paper bag, set them on the dining room table and walked away. Passing back through the dining room, she looked at the bag and said, “What’s that?”
“The paper plates, Mom.”
I didn’t think anything of it until the next time she passed through the dining room. “What’s in that bag?”
“Grad plates. From the cake.”
Third time through. “What’s in the bag?”
“MOM! Plates!” and then it hit me. And I got all cold. And I said nothing. Not until I was on the plane on the way back to Georgia. I said to my husband the fears I had, what I had begun to suspect. I wept about what I remembered happening to my grandmother, about how she forgot me eventually, and then my mother was also lost to my grandma’s mind. How I feared that happening to my child.
When I got home and called dad and relayed the incident about the plates. He said, “Oh, good. One of you girls finally noticed. I thought it was me. This has been going on for a couple of years…”
Years… and he said nothing.
And I quietly got angry. Years. Years? YEARS! and he did NOTHING? (as if there was much he could have done, that he would have known to have done???) I wanted to be mad about it (watch how quick I boulder through the 5 -stages of grief!) and Dad sure looked suitable as a target. Caution: it’s easy to get angry about this when it pops up. It’s easy to want to blame someone. As I said in my first post, when you go looking for spiritual gifts in dementia — you will likely find them. Same goes for blame, anger, resignation and humor in equal measure. What you seek here – you may just find. Careful what you look for.
And then it was real.
That was about 7 years ago.
Next up: What my mother had become since then.