Thursday, January 27, 2011

"The Tricking People"

It's been several weeks now since my family and I have decided that mother can no longer stay by herself. Each of us are taking turns spending the night with mother until a place can't be built for her at my house. Knowing who our mother is, it will not be an easy task to get her to agree to make the move when the time comes. Even though she spends most of her time complaining about living alone and wondering just whose house she's living in, we know that we have a Texas size predicament ahead of us.

Here lately, mother has gotten it into her head that the "tricking people" have come at night and moved her to another location and that my brother Jay is head ringer of this "organization." I can't help but smile when she's ranting and raving about these "tricksters" and assigning the blame to someone else other than yours truly.

I have come to her house this morning to give her meds and prepare food for the day. My husband and I had spent the night, last night, but had awakened at 4:45 am to run back home and dress for work. I must say, out of all the episodes I've encountered with mother since her dementia, last evening was something new.

Yesterday was Wednesday, which meant that mother had her hair appointment. I had come to her house to drive her down to Lindas for a wash and set. All the buzz about her coming to live with me when the addition is finished has made for some interesting conversation. One day she'll be feeling all warm and fuzzy about it and the next day, she will be threatening to do some bodily harm if we dare take her to that "S" hole up in Saluda; referring to my house.

I hurry into the salon ahead of mother to preface her arrival, and to warn Linda that she just may be filling her ear full of the news that she will be taking up residency soon at my house against her will.

Upon returning home, I remind mother that my husband and I will be back down right after church services. Later on, prior to our coming, I call and tell her to unlock the garage door and turn the lights on. "Where are you?" she says. "I'm at home and will be down there in just a few," I answer. "Well, I guess it's about time you're coming home now, so you got your fill of Hannah and Blythe's house, huh?" Hannah and Blythe are my children and for some reason, mother is thinking that I am at "their" house. I try to explain to her that I am at my house and she is at hers, but nothing doing. I can feel her anger through the phone lines, but assure her that I will be there soon and to open the door. We arrive as I promised and the doors are still locked. I call her once again and remind her to come out to the garage. As she opens the door, I see a stern look on her face. "I feel like kicking your butt for staying out so long" she says. "You should have called if you were going to be late." she went on. I suddenly understood her thinking. It was 1972 in her mind, and I had gotten in late from a date with Bobby, my husband, who just happened to be my boyfriend at the time.

She hurries to the couch where I see her old Bible laying. Mother sits there thumbing through the pages commenting on old newspaper clippings of various events which were important enough to save in her Bible. I drop a few words, but she will not answer. I can see she is still upset for me "staying out" so late. She comes across several old dingy cards from years gone by one is a mother's day card and I had been the sender. She begins to read in a louder voice, "Dear Mama, I remember when I was a little girl, and I would tell you that you were the best mama I ever had and you would say, 'I hope I am, and I hope I'm the only mother you'll ever have!" While reading these words that I had penned years and years ago, I can see a change come over her. She looks up at me for the first time tonight and says, "thank you Jeanner!" as if I had just given the card to her five minutes ago. I can feel the tension leaving mother as she begins to remember the tremendous love that we've shared as mother and daughter.

I think its safe to say that all of us have loved and been loved in our life. Whether it ended in good circumstances or not, we can still remember the feeling of being loved. Tonight, I believe that mother had forgotten how much she is loved. Not only does Dementia rob its victims of their memory, but it tricks them into thinking that no one loves them or cares for them.

Yes, there really is a "trickster" in mother's life, and its name is "Dementia."


  1. Your stories are so touching. You are so right dementia is a trickster and it is so sad the memories it robs from a person. Always remember in your heart how much your mother really loves you because all of us who know her have seen the love she has for you. It seems the one who loves the most is the one that receives the most blame but remember she doesn't realize that she is doing that to you. Love you.

  2. Jean,

    I just wanted to let you know that I selected your blog to be part of my Alzheimer's Disease blog post list of AD Health Activists. The post is called: "And the WEGO Health Alzheimer's Blog Nominations go to..." which you can find here: I hope you can stop by and let me know what you think :)

    Thank you for all that you do for Alzheimer's Disease education and awareness!


    Ellen S
    Twitter: WEGOEllen
    Facebook: WEGO Ellen