Tuesday, September 3, 2013


I am sitting downstairs and I can hear my mom singing upstairs. I can hear her voice, shaky at best and know she's happy. She likes "her" music. We have a 300 CD player and when I set it on shuffle she gets a lot of variety with no commercials. (Commercials just piss her off!)

The other day we were in the car and she asked for "her station". Thank goodness for Sirius radio because it was a simple switch of the channel and she was in the back seat singing along to her memories. And then the stories started. Dad and I have learnt to just say appropriate things such as, "Cool", "You don't say" or simply nod and laugh. Her stories have become a hodge podge of her past and present day technology. Dad and I are both getting really good about not correcting her. Though I will admit hearing the same story over and over - just a few details change- does wear on my nerves.

I have a hard time not crying in front of mom. It hurts me to have her ask over and over and over "What day is today?", "When does Daddy get home?", "Where's my office?", etc. I often respond to her with a lump in my throat. Weekends seem to be the worst because we don't have a set schedule. We never have, it's the weekend and whatever we need to do is what we need to do. Her confusion is most evident on weekends, at least to me.

Mom knows that we're getting a new fridge. It's going to be delivered on Sunday. I have answered
"when is it coming?" at least 7 times today. I made the mistake of telling her I was trying to figure out in my head how I'll move what we have in the old in to the spare one downstairs while we wait for the new one to get here. That lead to many questions, most of them repeated at least twice. She asked if she had to go down in the basement with the other fridge while the delivery guys are here. I choked back a laugh because it struck me funny and told her she could be wherever she likes. She's asked what color it is, how big, will it be ours and my favorite- will it hold her ice cream! Now that I did chuckle at. She giggled and said "Priorities you know!"

It's those little things that tell me I'm on the right path. I'm doing what I can to help her down this rocky road. She knows she's losing her mind. She knows she has dementia and part of her knows what's coming. When she brings it up, I change the subject. Not because I can't handle answering her questions, but because it causes her such pain. I prefer to make her smile, giggle, sing- whatever I can to keep the hurt away.

There are lots of things mom can't do anymore: get herself dressed, make a cup of coffee for herself, find the soda in the fridge, shower on her own, put her own necklace on, shut the freezer door, shut the front door, push play on the CD player, finish knitting the afghan she started for me, play a game of rummy, remember that her sister has been dead for a year. And that is why I'm here- here to do things for her, with her, remember for her.

But she can still sing along to her favorite songs. Yes, her voice is shaky, she's behind by at least one word and she's off key- but she can still sing. Those songs she remembers- songs that meant something to her at one time or another. Songs she knows by heart, songs I've heard all my life. She still can sing!