Tuesday, July 10, 2012


It's two days before the fourth of July and my family is headed out for a beach trip. I want to say a quick goodbye to mother, knowing that I will be away from her for the longest time since her entry into the nursing home. I have purposely chosen a time when she will be finished with her lunch and I can do my usual of curling her hair while we "chat." I hurriedly head up the hall, thinking I will find her sitting next to her new found "husband." For the past several months now, mother has chosen a poor unassuming gentleman who resides at the home, to be her deceased husband "Yates." Not long ago, I came for a visit and there she sat, next to "her Yates." I said, mother come on, let's go up the hall and sit in the front room." She gave me a look that would kill and said "we can't leave Yates here!" Assuring her that he would be alright, I began to push her wheelchair forward. Mother grabbed the nearest thing in sight, the big toe of a lady in her reclining chair. The woman began to holler "OH, OH" until a worker came to the rescue. Today, I glance in mother's room as I pass by. Instead of her bed made, I see someone lying in there. Stopping in my tracks, I turn and go in. There lays mother, breathing very short, hard breaths. I am concerned and see that her roommate is just outside the door. "What is wrong with mother?" I ask. She begins to inform me that mother has been up all night with a stomach virus. I then walk down to the nurse's desk and inquire. The nurse confirms the information. Returning to her bedside, I stroke her forehead and sit at the foot of the bed. Barely able to speak and visibly ridden with discomfort, mother orders me to "go, or you'll catch it too!" Here she is, can hardly remember if I've been there or not 5 minutes after I've left, or anything about anything, but she can still remember to be my mother, with instincts of protecting her child. For months now, as I sit and visit with my mother, I can feel the ties that have always bound us together as mother and daughter, wavering. Struggling to see the mother that I once idolized in this thin shell. Today, I leave the home with a renewed idea that I still have a mother that wants to protect me. If we're honest, no matter how old we get, we will all have that need to be loved and protected by our mother, til we die.


  1. Jean,

    It's amazing how the ties between us and those we love can defy dementia.

    I've just returned from visiting my mother, who is diagnosed with dementia. As mentioned in an earlier comment, she lives far from me, and I am loathe to disturb her current situation (being taken care of by a man who loves her deeply, and who loves her deeply as well).

    Though she often confused me with another relative in the first few days, she still had many moments of knowing or behaving as my mother.

    Anyway, thank you for continuing to write here. It is appreciated.


  2. Alzheimer's is the sixth leading cause of death & there are currently no effective treatments. Please share this video and one thing that you never want to forget to help end Alzheimer's. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xeHTTonG6co&feature=player_embedded

  3. Loving our parents should not end when they get old. We should not stop loving them. Having a dementia is so hard for them that's why we need to help them by providing dementia signs in any place they go.

  4. My mom today also showed this care when she told me to go to the doctor for my back; I told her I had. What did he say, she asked, and I replied, he says I have a urinary tract infection and must finish the meds before he decides if I have a herniated disk." Well take care of that infection, it could kill you, she replied. It was good to finally see she does care about someone other than herself.

  5. reading this blog is comforting to me as the caregiver for my mom. Her story is very different from yours but some similarities are there. I hate this disease and what it has done to all of us but have made the sole decision to give her as much dignity as possible. Thank you for this to read it really makes me know that others are doing and caring for the same thing!

  6. I've witnesses married couples in a dementia ward, that are not, as your mother did. I volunteered for a hospice a short time. Blogging really is an outlet for us. My father does some stuff, and my sense of humor, helps me to see the flip side of life. Glad to see yours is intact.