Last week, I drove up to Vermont to spend a couple of days with my mom. She has Alzheimer's. She still lives by herself but can't drive any more. She relies on friends to bring her to church and my sister-in-law to take her to appointments and shopping. People are busy with their lives though and she doesn't get out much and is quite bored; she tells me so all the time.
So I went up by myself so I could focus on her for a bit and she'd have a little company. We did go to the movies: RED and Morning Glory. She didn't love either of them saying at the end of the second movie: They just don't make them like they used to. Too true.
One morning we were imprisoned in the house waiting for the Cable Guy. My mom doesn't have cable, never did. Growing up the refrain was: I will never pay for television. Alzheimer's has mellowed her and we told her we (the kids) were paying for it so she can watch all those old, good movies. Surprisingly, she agreed. While waiting, I thought how she is rather like a toddler. She repeats herself the way a young child wants to play the same monotonous game over and over. Also, because she is bored, she really enjoyed having someone to talk to; she almost demanded attention.
I, immediately, felt guilty for thinking this. And felt even more guilty when I had to return home and leave her to her boredom. I feel guilty and helpless because I don't know what to do to alleviate her condition. I'm cranky and intolerant of other people (more so than usual) because I don't know how to negotiate this new terrain.
Returning home, and hanging out with my own children, I feel worried about my future and their future. My mom did a lot with her life: raised 7 kids, returned to school to get her MLS, worked, traveled, volunteered (and that's just a small hit list). I want to model a fully realized life for my children but how do I do that? And yet a part of me wants to just hide my head in the sand. Staring mortality in the face, my flight-or-fight instincts are working overtime; I wonder who will win.
I have no point to this post but wanted to share because I'm sure I'll be writing about this more. I guess you could say that this subject, like the rest of my life, is a work in progress.