I have to admit that it’s getting more difficult to visit my mom. She has dementia and is almost blind. She lives in an assistive living facility. My mother is no longer who she once was. Gone is her zest for life, creative ideas and quirky hobbies. Once in a while I will see a glimmer of the sharp wit she always had. In the next moment, I see her staring at me…puzzled, trying to figure out who I am.
I have my mom to thank for my creativity. She loved arts and crafts–she was decoupaging before it was hip. She made the coolest cakes and boy could she throw a party. She was also a bit of an entrepreneur—sometimes at my expense (yes she took my beloved stuffed animals and sold them at Trader’s Village. I am not THAT bitter). She loved plants and sold African Violets from starts of her plants. My mom was a survivor. She picked herself up from her bootstraps when my dad walked out and worked hard to provide. She only had a high school education, but she was smart as a whip when it came to money. She was never afraid of being a little silly (as you can see in the picture). She taught me how to laugh at life and myself.
What I hate most about her present state is to watch her lose her occupations. She was an avid reader and loved to watch the stock market numbers on the television. She can’t see to do that anymore. She loved to mess about in her “little house” she loved so much. Now she is limited to a small room with only a handful of possessions. She participates in activities at the residence, but I am not sure how much she can hear or see. I know she gets lonely. My sisters and I visit her often, but she quickly forgets and thinks no one comes to see her. It is often sketchy that she even knows who we are. Leaving the facility to visit family is often challenging and frightening so she opts not to do it very often. She needs total care because she forgets to eat, bathe, and doesn’t know what time of day it is. At times, I am thankful that she can’t see the tear in my eye when she asks “Who are you again?”. I am thankful that she can’t remember what she has lost: her house, her independence, her family time, her passion for life. One thing I have learn through this process is that every day is precious. For that I am sure.