My mother is smearing feces on her bathroom walls. She’s also urinating in her closet at night. No, she’s not insane. She has Alzheimer’s – and it’s getting worse. This was the recent report we received from her assisted living facility. Happy Thanksgiving, right?
She slept through Thanksgiving last night. You can call me compassionless, but I think it was for the best. It was a quiet dinner with my sisters, unlike our rambunctious extended-family meals. My sister compared it to dining in a restaurant – good wine, good food, candlelight, adult conversation and a little jazz in the background – then mom woke up, talking crazy like a street person.
We made her a plate and finished our wine as she ate, ranted, and rambled. During our earlier dinner, we discussed inviting neighbors or friends over – and then I see her and realize it’s almost impossible. Perhaps they would be more empathetic than I? I ask myself how bad she’s going to get. My answer is: much worse.
Alzheimer’s can be hereditary. There’s a window of time between when you discover you have Alzheimer’s and when the dementia advances until you can’t remember. This morning, I wonder what I would do if I found myself at that juncture. My response is sobering and frightening.
My mother suffered from dementia. It wasn’t until she wanted to move out of her house that one of my brothers and one of my sisters actually clued into what was going on.
I will always remember my sister telling me what our mother was saying while still semi-lucid: “I’m losing my mind: I want to die.”
It is a horrible way to finish off your time on this planet.
When I went home to visit, I almost didn’t want to see her: I felt horrible for thinking that.
… but when I did see her I could still see her clearly as she was on golden days before all the cruelness crept in.
Sorry this isn’t very cheery.