A Deeper Family: When Time Collapses

I am continuing to chronicle the journey with my mom through dementia over at A Deeper Family today. Every couple of months, words about this haunting process seem to rise to the surface. Thanks for your patience and encouragement as we take this difficult walk together. You can click here to read the rest of this essay. . .

Enormous chunks of time are gone now.

How can I watch this? How can I help? How can I say the right thing, do the right thing, be the right daughter?

I am beyond knowing most days. Beyond knowing.

We made plans last weekend for my youngest brother’s two sons and one daughter-in-law to make the long drive from their home to ours. My youngest brother, the one who died in his sleep just over three years ago. This would be the first time these nice kids would see Mom in her new living environment, the one we moved her to in February. The one designed for memory and cognitive loss residents.

The one that reminds me every single time I am there that my mother is fading into the woodwork, that the woman I knew is vacating the premises.

I have learned not to tell Mom about visitors or traveling plans too far in advance. When I do, she frets over it multiple times per day, convinced that NOW is when it all happens. Several weeks ago, she asked me to contact Ken’s boys; she wanted to see them. I was happy to do that.

Thank God for Facebook — connections were made, plans set. One day before our time together, I told mom that we would all go out to lunch together. She was excited and grateful and seemed to understand — seemed being the operative word.

Alarming situation number one: when we arrived, parking in the subterranean lot beneath the wing in which she lives, riding the elevator and turning the circuitous route to her unit, we found her standing outside the building, as cars drove nearby. Maybe that bracelet will be necessary after all, the one that sets off the alarm if she leaves with no one noticing. I dread it. Dread it.

Alarming situation number two: after greeting everyone gladly and expertly, she climbed into our car, while the younger generation climbed into their own, to follow us to the restaurant. “Who are those people?” she said.

Who are those people?

These, dearest mother-of-mine, these are the very ones you so wanted to see. The very ones. How do I answer you without letting the deep panic I feel creep into my voice? How do I DO that?

Please join me over at A Deeper Family to read the rest of this post. . .

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  1. Praying with you through the pain, the disillusionment, the fog that surrounds her and drips mist on all who gather around…

    I’m so sorry you have to take this walk, but you are never alone.

  2. Thank so much, Karin. and ‘fog dripping mist’ – yes! Exactly. Thanks for getting that.

  3. It’s just hard, this particular journey. Hard, and heart-joltingly painful.

  4. Dementia is an insidious disease that steals our loved ones away. We experienced the same kind of sadness and frustration as we watched my husband’s mother “disappear into the woodwork.” (So aptly put, Diana.) From your posts, I have become acquainted with your heart and spirit. You are a woman of sensitivity and grace–you WILL be the right kind of daughter! You rely upon God. I’m praising him for the strength and peace he generously gives–especially in times like these.

    • Thank you, Nancy. I, too, am grateful for grace-in-the-moment as I continue to walk this road, sometimes blindsided by what feel like huge cliff-dropping moments such as the one described here. I will make mistakes — this much I am sure of!! — but I pray for patience, wisdom and lots of love as we walk down this road.