Wednesday, February 27, 2013
I can't imagine how painful it must be for people who lose their mothers at a young age. I am so very grateful that mine is still thriving at 95 years of age. If you are lucky enough to have your mother live to a ripe old age you may experience another type of loss. Yes, I see the losses. She has always been very athletic. She used to exercise with Jack LaLanne before exercise became chic using soup cans as weights. Now, she uses a walker but she still bombs around with it. Her hearing is gone and frustratingly for us, she refuses to use her hearing aids. "I hear what I want to hear!, she retorts to our objections with the enthusiasm of any rebellious teenager. She no longer cooks for herself so both my sister and I have her to our homes for dinner twice a week. We make sure she goes home with plenty of leftovers to be used for future meals.She refuses to eat her veggies picking out the carrots and peas from the chicken pot pie with the skill of a brain surgeon. We have to monitor her to make sure she takes her meds and has something in her fridge that is healthy to eat. We know she has lots of snacks in her cupboards - cookies, candy just like a kid again! We work hard to keep her independent in her own condo because we know that is what she wants.
I think the biggest loss I see is in her cognition as dementia sets in. Sometimes she is so vacant in expression that I wonder where she has gone. Yet, other times, she is sharp as a tack, witty and clever like she was young again. She has lapses and like anyone else is aware of them. We recently took her on a road trip to see her 93 year old sister. It was a big drive from Vancouver, B.C. to Portland, Oregon but we were able to break it up so she could rest. She kept forgetting why or where we were going. The night before we left my sister carefully packed her suitcase with clothing. In the morning when she arrived to get mom she handed her the suitcase now empty to be put away. My sister, had to tell her again that we were going on a trip and repack her. The night before we left Portland my sister carefully had laid out her clothes for the next day and packed her other outfit. My mother kept unpacking the packed outfit and putting out the other one. This happened numerous times. My sister explained that she shouldn't unpack while we were packing. Well, my mother broke out into laughter. We all did! It was such a funny scene something out of a Laurel and Hardy movie watching my sister pack, my mom unpack, my sister pack, my mom unpack and on and on.
The lesson for me is that my mom has every reason to feel depressed that she isn't like she used to be but instead she sees the humour when things go wrong. If she can't remember something she just shrugs and says, "Well that was a long time ago, now wasn't it?" If one of her contemporaries passes away she is never sad and says, "Well they lived a long time an you can't live forever! I only hope that I can age with that grace and still find joy and laughter.
My mother is one amazing lady!