Friday, November 16, 2012
To shower or not....
It's a bit of silly and a bit of sarcasm today from mom- I call it a tween day because she reminds me of a 9-12 year old. One minute she loves me, the next she's telling me that she wants to be in a home because they'd treat her better. To best understand this you must know my mother has always been able to send me on a guilt trip. So the comments about putting her in a home are her way to making me feel bad for combing her hair (she had a snarl and got upset that I wanted to comb it out), trying to get her to take a shower, or just getting out of her PJ's that she's been in for three days.
That's another thing I just can't get used to.... she suddenly abhors taking a shower up until she takes one. Then she raves about how good it makes her feel. I can not understand why she hates to take a shower. It's worse than fighting with a two year old to take a bath, because I can't play the "'cuz I said so" card. Even dad can't convince her when she's in this mood. I've used the excuse that I need to breath in the steam for my cold/asthma. That didn't work today. So instead she went to Walmart and Big Lots in her pajama jeans (at least hey look like jeans), her white undershirt (a man's undershirt) and her long gray sleep sweatshirt that says "Smarty Pants" with Mickey Mouse on them and her hair standing up every which way. It doesn't bother me anymore. It just isn't worth fighting over. I'll work on it tomorrow again. On a good day, the shower will happen.
While we were out mom said she wanted McDonald's. Okay, lets go to McDonald's. She said the commercial for the new Western Burrito looked good and since it was still breakfast time, that's what she wanted. Okay. Sounded good to me.
We were sitting at a table, her telling stories about how my divorce came to be (I found out today that his girlfriend lived with him and I for a year before I walked out... lol), how outstanding my great aunt was as her supervisor at the hospital back in the "good ole" days (my great aunt wasn't her supervisor, she worked on a different floor.) I take her stories in stride because I know she just wants to talk- I nod, or laugh at the appropriate spots. I was also watching other people in the place. Two older ladies having coffee and catching up... how I wish that my mom was capable of that; Two veterans sharing opinions on Obama and an older couple that came in for their free coffee. It was this last couple that really got to me.
The lady kept staring at my mom and I. I was dressed in my normal sweatshirt, jeans with make up and hair done. Then there was mom. Oblivious to the stares of this other elderly woman or to the comments she was making about her. See, I read lips... have since I was a kid and lost my hearing for a few days. It's just a habit. It usually allows me to find out what others are talking about and chuckle. Not today. This woman was sitting there judging me and my mom. Commenting that my mom shouldn't be out of the house looking like she did. Her husband smartly kept his mouth shut. If he had said a word, I'd probably have gotten up and told them both off.
What I should have done was gotten up and spoken to this woman. I should have said, "Excuse me. Before you judge my mom or me one more minute, let me explain to you why she looks that way. You see, today my mom is in her child mode. She refuses to do things she doesn't want to. I can't maker her. She's the mom and I'm still her child. I respect her. I will not force her to do things conventional society thinks she should. You see, fighting with her wears her and I out. Her tears cause my heart to break bit by bit. I'd rather sit and eat with her at McDonald's then to cause her to cry just to make her hair look presentable to you. And no I won't leave her at home so that you don't have to see her. Now that you know, thank the Lord above that you have all your mind. You can sit and judge someone who can't remember where she put her shoes, let alone that it is Friday and that today isn't a year ago or twenty years ago. You can walk away from her. You may never see her again. But me, I wish with all that I am that she wasn't being taken from me day by day. Her hair isn't perfect but every day I get to make one more memory with her is. God Bless you."
That's what I wish I'd done. Instead, all I did was smile that sugary smile of mine. When we were leaving another couple joked with my mom over my comment that the girl at the counter was a bimbo. They treated her like normal. They didn't judge her. To that couple, THANK YOU! You made my mom laugh and smile the rest of our errand running. She's still talking about how nice you were. Even though it was only a 3 minute conversation, you made her day.
My mom knows she has dementia. She said so today at Big Lots. It hurts her that she has it. And it hurts my dad, and me. It hurts the family. But its our journey. She, nor dad or I, need your judgement. We are doing this day by day the best we can. If you don't like it, KISS MY ASS!