Usually I write a blog every week, but I didn’t get one out last week and I have been struggling getting focused to write one this week. Writing isn’t hard for me; I have taught writing for years, so an informal blog comes naturally. The reason I have been struggling recently is because my mom is visiting. My mom is 88 and has dementia (most likely Alzheimer’s). I spent a lot of time at her place last year as she was having hip problems that decreased her mobility and cataract surgeries. I went for a week at Mother’s Day, then in August to help her recover from hip replacement surgery, and later we spent three weeks at her place around Christmas and New Years. She has full mobility again, so my brother and I decided she should come up here to visit me and my kids (her grandkids) and my daughter’s children (her great grandkids). She loves to travel, so she was happy for a change of scenery. This may be the last time she can make a trip like this, so I have been trying to take advantage of the time together.
It is hard to have to mother your mother. That is what I have been doing. I can see she has lost vocabulary since Christmas as well as the ability to logically work through things. Even though I talk to her by phone frequently, it is not the same as living with her 24/7. My mom was quick and determined and independent all her life. She now has a hard time making decisions or thinking about the consequences of choices, such as choosing to sit in the sun too long leads to sunburn. She can’t operate a baby gate that we use to keep our dog from roaming all over. She can’t figure out how to unlock the doors of my car to get out and has trouble with the seat belts. She asks the same things over and over. She seems happiest just sitting outside in nature and listening to the birds and watching the squirrels.
My mom and my husband at Las Colinas last January
My dog Maggie knows my mom well. She has made several trips to Dallas with us to visit my mom. Maggie seems protective of Mom, spending a lot of time at my mom’s feet. I feel like she senses that my mom needs protection, similar to the way she wants to protect kids. Maggie is also very gentle with my mom. Those who have met my Maggie know she is a rambunctious bouncy poodle, so this behavior is very different from her normal. The funny thing is my mom can’t remember that my dog is female, and it bugs my husband and I, which is silly because the dog doesn’t care. The two of them have spent lots of time together and that makes me happy.
I don’t know what the next year will bring or how long my mom has or how long she will even remember me. I am one who always deals with what I need to deal with in a very practical way. In fact, I am the person you want with you in an emergency. However, I didn’t realize how much it was all getting to me until the last few nights when I have been have anxiety nightmares featuring trying to survive in a dystopian world. I have been trying to eat the stress away too, which is not good.
My mom and Maggie last weekend in West Virginia
So I write all is this to remind you to make the most of today. Make memories with your loved ones, including your pets. Hug your loved ones, go on walks, get pictures to cherish, and give lots of love. Tomorrow holds no guarantees. Carpe Diem!