What Am I Trying to Say? Dementia thoughts…It’s Been a Week…


Mom and her father, also with dementia.



This week has been an unusual week for Mom. Not sure why, but we all know that every day is a new day with dementia patients. Who knows where these things come from but they happen and we deal with them as they unfold. It started out with the usual bath and hair wash on Monday and that was a good thing…as she needed it after the weekend. Cardine works her magic and manages to get her to cooperate. Then Tuesday came…..like a bad dream. Seemed okay in the morning, but then again she can fool us all when she has a mind to. Things can turn on a dime….

Once a month, the Visiting Nurse Service comes to give her a vitamin B12 shot due to a deficiency. So, this day, the nurse shows up and walks into Mom giving poor Cardine a run for her money. Apparently since I left in the morning, Mom has been giving Cardine a hard time. All morning she has been trying to leave and go to find her mother. We’re familiar with this but not necessarily at the start of a day. It usually happens when she is sundowning….later in the day. By the time the Visiting Nurse arrived at noon, Cardine was nervous and worn out, not to mention stressed….let’s not leave that out. At that point after the nurse witnessed what was happening, she called me at work. She told me that she was trying to leave the house and being very aggressive which was unusual. She thought I was still a child and that it was a bad situation. She thought perhaps I could have some influence on Mom if I spoke with her. They put her on the phone and I talked her off the ledge and stayed on the phone while her B12 shot was given and everything seemed to be all right. Afterwards, she took a nap and woke up normal and back to her old self. Thank goodness for small miracles.

She had another day of looking for her mother but it wasn’t as intense as on Tuesday. I was grateful for that. On Saturday, after I came home from my errands and appointments, I found that she had been working with her papers all day and was intensely writing on a greeting card seeming to be totally engrossed in what she was doing. I didn’t say anything because it was a good thing. At dinnertime when I came in to sit with her, I noticed a greeting card on the table next to me. While I was eating, I opened it out of curiosity. It is shown above. It says:

Dear L

Aas of linuse to g you anothew omng om thee tho rourte. up….to das sull–––keel thirn is turning imme my This is getting me ne me nousre,, Can’t rain the street!!! Don’t P got to gstap the misc….the lc s to N D. Dr t lakin I can’t s as of any thing any molbre. So long, well uille will well stand. Will I’pp.

Totally took me off guard. I mean, I know that she can’t speak correctly but on the other hand, I know that she knows what she wants to say. She just can’t get it out of her mouth. I didn’t know about how she would write it. This was an eye opener for me….a reality check. It means that although she knows what she wants to say, she cannot say it, or write it. How frustrating that must be for her. Knowing exactly what’s on your mind but trying to say it while seeing the blank look on your audience. It has GOT to be frustrating. She had always been a very smart and articulate person, reading, writing poems, working on her vocabulary throughout her whole life, doing crosswords, and hard ones at that. Now, she can’t express herself in any way. Unless you can guess at what she wants to say, there is no way you can understand what she is trying to say.

This greeting card, which was originally from me to her back in 2012, turned into a reality check for me. Can’t help but wonder, what she was trying to tell me. We will never know.

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I’ve Been Wondering Where My Mother Is…

gma_favorite_cropToday is my grandmother’s birthday…February 13th…the day before Valentine’s Day. She would have been well over 100 years old by this time. A day that I can never forget..I will never forget, February 13th. She was my rock as a child. This was her wedding photo. I can’t help but notice that she had eyes like blue ice. I thought she was pretty as a young person. It’s actually hard to believe that your grandmother could ever have been young, but they, just as we, were once young and vibrant, now a thing of the past.

Well, it’s common for a dementia patient to be looking for their parents and that has held true for my mother throughout her disease as well. We went through this long period of time where the main focus of her day, mostly at sundown would be spent looking for her mother, and Cardine would have to stand in front of the door to prevent her from leaving to look for her. What is that? Is she just going back to a good time in life, and therefore remembering her mother? Or perhaps, she is thinking that she is 10 years old, or in a crisis where she needs the good advise of her mother. We will never know.

There is one thing that I do know. I was home, yet again today from yet another horrendous winter storm, a classic noreaster, that the northeast has been facing this year, when my mother walks out  to me looking for her mother. This hasn’t happened for a very long time and I guess, it got me to wondering. While cooking dinner tonight, low and behold a thought goes through my head…OMG…it’s my grandmother’s birthday today. Of course she came to me looking for her mother…even though she is void of her memory, a black hole, but somehow, some way she knows. It’s her mother’s birthday today but doesn’t know how to verbalize it and probably can’t even make sense of it. The thought of her mother is just there at the top of her mind. This was astronomical for me as a believer of this train of thought. I truly believe that her mother was here, in this house today, although I am not in tune enough to know that…somehow, some way, I believe that…all unexplainable.

Her mother, my grandmother was a crucial role model for me and she was something to behold. She was very old fashioned and very dedicated to her family. She took me on even when it was too much for her, as I was quite a handful as a child. My mother relied heavily on her to fill in when I was sick, on weekends, summers, holidays or just whenever and I loved every minute of it. I thank god for her as she is the reason that I am as normal as I am. I have always aspired to be just like her. Again, be careful for what you wish for in life. She died from the stress of taking care of her husband with dementia. I miss her as much as my mother does. Happy birthday Grandma!

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