In February my elderly mom became ill with pneumonia and was hospitalized. She was hospitalized four times in the past few months. Sadly we also had to move her into a nursing home and give up her apartment. It hasn't been easy on anyone, especially not her, but sometimes in life the choices are few and you do what you can. She has had a bit of dementia for some time, but with all the illness, hospital stays, and big changes in her life it has become much worse, and there are days she can remember the most detailed information yet not know what day it is, much less year, or even where she is.
I have found myself trying to work and do the things that come with the first spring and summer of being a new homeowner. I take frequent trips to see my mom and have spent a number of weeks there with her in the past several months. I am thankful she is still with us, yet saddened that I seem to be losing the mother I have come to know, to ask advice from, to have conversations with. I went through a similar thing when my Dad was still alive as he had alzheimers and as anyone who has a loved one with dementia or alzheimers knows, you basically lose that person twice, once to the disease and then again when their body says it's time for the final farewell.
The hardest thing of course is knowing how hard it's all been on Mom. I won't even go there, but it's the one thing I cannot escape. The reality of the illness, the dementia, the devastation it has caused her mind and her body. I'm SO proud of her...despite it all, she has "sisu". I believe that means "guts" in Finnish. She has guts. She has determination. She has fight. But again, I won't go there now, as I go there enough in my mind. It is heartbreaking and heart wrenching.
My post today was intended to be light and happy, but signing into my account made me realize how long it's been since posting and how many changes have come about in my life since my last post. Changes that changed me. Not necessarily for the worse, nevertheless, changed me. I find myself being more patient, more compassionate, although I have tried very hard over the years to be compassionate and understanding of people's problems and woes.
I find myself on the opposite end of a mother/daughter relationship. I'm sometimes the daughter but more frequently now I am the parent. I don't think about it if I can convince my mind not to go there, but there are times when out of the blue I find myself ready to reach for the phone to call Mom to discuss something, to tell her about my day, whatever..the things a daughter who has talked to her mom almost every day throughout her 52 years of life would talk about...and then it hits me. My relationship with my mom is never going to be the same. And it saddens me. And then I force myself not to dwell on it.
I look forward to the times I do spend with her. I travel to see her about once a week as life is hectic with working and my kids and grandkids here, with having the duties of mowing the lawn and cleaning house and running errands. Work especially is very time consuming. I feel sometimes I will never catch up. In reality, I never will and I have come to accept that and do what I can, when I can. Life is short and with both of my parents having had dementia and alzheimers I am convinced I will follow that path. And so, I have vowed to make sure I enjoy the moments and not work as much as I have in past years.
I did fit a family vacation in during all this. Last week my daughter and son in law invited me to Minneapolis, MN on vacation with them, and at first I declined because I'm just so busy, but I reconsidered and decided to go. I had a great time! Being with the grandkids as they played in lego land at the Mall of America, watching them awed by the sharks and jellyfish at the aquarium at the Mall of America, and going through the haunted house with my grandson. My granddaughter got her picture taken with her favorite...Dora, and my grandson with Sponge Bob. The butterfly house in Nickelodeon Universe was also a big hit. It was all priceless!
Here's a few photos from our vacation.
Waving from the entrace at the Mall of America.
Oh look! It's her favorite...Dora!
And he's hanging with Sponge Bob!