I’m in the dark. If I turn on the light mom might wake up and see I’m not in bed. She’ll think it’s okay to come out here and turn on the TV.
I’m here because I haven’t updated in a while.
I go to my room when she goes to bed and listen to podcasts and play a game on my tablet, read, or watch a show on my phone. I resist turning out the light because it’s the only time in the day I get to myself. I don’t want to update here because I need my time alone. I need the break. But tonight I had to come out to the family room and update.
It’s been a bad few days. Week? More? She starts sundowning in the early afternoon. By evening she doesn’t know who I am. She doesn’t like her food. She complains about everything. She’s bratty in the morning when we’re getting ready to go to the pool.
Tonight I had to use all my coping mechanisms– deep breaths, count backward from ten, rant silently behind her back, cover my ears so I can’t hear her, and finally, putting ouzo in my Chrystal Light. Then I was forced to have the conversation where I share my life story because she doesn’t know I’m her daughter. I had to lie to her about why I was crying. “Just reading a sad story, that’s all!” The sad story was my post in the online support group where I whined about how crazy she makes me.
I know I will miss her when she dies, but I will not miss this. I will not miss this behavior. I will not miss her not knowing who I am.
One last thing to note because this is where this type of thing is kept: This morning we chatted with a woman at the pool who used to teach mom’s arthritis class in a pool in Perrysburg a long, long time ago. Mom doesn’t remember her, and barely remembers going to the pool in Perrysburg. The woman pulled me aside and asked me if mom has dementia. When I said yes she responded, “I thought so. I could tell right away.” I had to suck in a few tears after that one! “A grief trigger,” one might call it. It’s not like I think she doesn’t have dementia, but hearing someone say they see it too kind of makes it more real.