What a long, strange trip it’s been. My Mother and I did not have the greatest of relationships during most of my lifetime. I can safely say that we were never close, never felt that bond that so many Mothers and Daughters share. I was a tomboy from an early age, preferring horses and even model cars to girlie stuff. I was my Dad’s daughter, taught to use tools, mow the lawn, drive a stick-shift car, at an early age.
As an adult, Mom often saw the error of my life choices, despite being a self-sufficient, professional woman. She thought I should be married and having babies. I preferred to work, travel, live my own life. We differed politically. I will leave it at that. At times, it got ugly. 🙂
I married late, to a wonderful man that, surprise, surprise, Mom loved. Well, at least I did THAT right. 🙂
In 2012, at age 86, we started getting very concerned about Mom’s mental state, and her memory, in particular. She was repeating things over and over, she misplaced things, she was increasingly paranoid, she was no longer able to safely drive, and she had become obsessive about donating money, and buying coins, and other mail-order items. She was living alone in Florida, with a friend nearby who we thought was watching over her, but we realized the situation was no longer safe for her. A visit to a neurologist and geriatrician confirmed our worst fears, it was early stage dementia.
It took a full year, but slowly we convinced Mom she needed to be closer to family, and in January 2013, she finally agreed to move to an assisted living facility 20 minutes from my house. The care she required was initially minimal, and she adjusted well to assisted living, with 3 nice meals a day and lots of activities to keep her busy. A fall, two broken wrists, and a long year later, she started wandering and her executive function significantly declined.
The facility required she now be moved to a Memory Care unit, specifically designed for Alzheimer’s patients, with the safety and security they require. We made the decision to move her to a different facility, with a much nicer secure unit, and she settled in nicely.
She is now in her fifth year here in Georgia, and she is in the later stages of Alzheimer’s. We are blessed with caring staff at her facility, and an angel in the form of a private nurse that visits regularly and has become part of the family. Mom speaks infrequently, sleeps a great deal, and is now mostly on a liquid diet. But days like today, when she smiled right at us, talked, and hummed while we visited make this whole process bearable. Through this progression, the differences fell away, and we have come to love each other as simply Mother and Daughter, something we could never do prior to this journey. Blessings come in many forms. Hug your family close, you never know how long you have.
This post is part of the Brave, Bold, Blogger Challenge (BBBC) issued by my moto-blog friend Kathy, aka ToadMama, to cover 28 blog prompts in the month of February. And good for undisciplined me, no rules either.