Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Land of Confusion

Ok, I have sat down to write a new blog post about 6 or 7 different times. I have gotten as far as actually having my Dad proof it, only not to post it. Today, I am simply writing. I am not going to have anyone else proof it, so I apologize right now for any mistakes, but I just have to get this out of my head. Lighten the load that holds heavy on my heart and clings to me and won't let me go. GET.IT.OUT.

This entry is again, about my mom.

My mom is now at the point in her disease that she has passed the stage of knowing that she is struggling and has a disease that is taking her away from us bit by bit. She has landed in a world where she talks incessantly about nothing. I am sure that it all means something to her, but most of the time I have no idea what she is talking about. It may seem easy to deal with a conversation like that. Just nod and agree or make some sort of notion that you are paying attention and she will be fine. You are probably right in saying that, but I can't seem to do that. I am still listening and hoping for a glimpse of who she is, for just a moment that what she says makes complete sense, stirs a memory, brings me my mom. I am lost in her world of confusion and nonsense that only makes sense to her and that world is exhausting.

Exhausting for many reasons, but one that keeps coming up for me is a lack of control. I understand that you can only really control yourself. But I have been, for years, trying to control tid-bits of my Mom's life. In essence it has been my job for years- drive her where she needs to go, shop for her, make  her doctors appointments, pay her bills, check her mail. These were simply a few of my duties. Each stage of Alzheimer's that she entered I would think, "It'll be better now. Now someone is helping watch after her." or "Now I won't have to worry about who is getting her mail." No matter how hard I try, I feel that I have failed my Mom in some way. Things fall through the cracks. Mail gets lost or misplaced. A bill gets missed. I don't visit enough. I am out of town just when she really needs me. I don't understand her anymore.

Even more so, it is that there is nothing we can do to bring her back. No cure. Nothing. There is no clear end in sight, especially with my Mom. She is 15 to 20 years younger than the people she lives with in the facility. I can sit there with her and look around at the others and see them in the stages where she has been and also see how much worse it is going to become.

And you see, the thing is, I can't get away from this. We all have stressors in our life. Some are easier to handle than others. Some we can forget about until after vacation. Some get solved with a quick answer. And I hate to call my own mother a stressor or problem, but I am simply not sure what else to call it right now. Don't get me wrong, I am so very glad that I can do what I can for her. I am glad that she lives near me, at least most of the time. The problem is that I can not let it go, ever.  Can't throw my hands and the arm and yell, "Forget this!" These days, I can not even get away from the situation in my dreams.

I know that I have heard that your subconscious mind is simply trying to resolve stress in your life and figure things out while you sleep. But I have to say, that dreaming about my mom is not restful at all. The past few nights I have dreamt about her. Not a sweet dream that leaves you at ease when you awake. No, it is as if I am living the stress out still while I sleep. Things that I had already dealt with. I dreamt about having to take her car away. I have dreamt about her throwing things away in the trash can that don't belong there. She didn't realize or even care what they were. I dreamt about where she lived and her care and how she felt about it. Reliving the horror and pain of her situation, my situation in my dreams. I wake up tired and even more stressed than the day before. I can't seem to get away.

And inevitably I frequently get the question, "How's your Mom doing?" Look, I know that you are asking out of concern for me or for her or because you are simply curious, but what I want to know is, how do actually expect me to answer that question? I can tell you exactly what is going through my brain when you ask. Usually it goes like this, "Aaaaaaaaarrrrrrrggggggggggghhhhhhhhhh!!!! What the f&@$ do you want me to answer to that?! She is bad. Bad. Bad. Bad. She is not getting better, only worse." Here is what you will usually actually get, "She is ok. Doing about the same. She is happy most days." All of this is said holding back tears, wishing you wouldn't ask, especially in public because talking about it only makes me feel worse.

I can hear the , "But you need to talk about it to help with the pain" comments. This is why I write. This is why I work out. It helps me. Lifts the burden. Takes away bits and pieces of the pain.

People keep telling me to ease my burden a little by not doing her laundry anymore. But here is the honest truth, it keeps me going back to visit her on a regular basis. The days that I say I am going to visit, I do, because she needs her clothes cleaned. Then I go again because she needs her clothes back. It may seem cruel in another's eyes that it is hard to go visit my Mom. I have had the suggestion to just make a certain day that I always go visit her. Easier said then done. I used to try and do that, but things started getting in the way. Let me just finish this project at home. I'll go tomorrow. There are a million excuses. The guilt builds. The pain builds. And what is worse, I know my mom would be devastated if she knew the hardship that we have endured for her.

My mom, when still lucid, constantly told my sister and I how thankful she was that she had us. How thankful she was that we have helped her so much, how understanding we have been. I have always known that I would help her. Whatever she needed until the day she dies. I have done things that people have said they couldn't believe that I would do. Well let me tell you, I never questioned it, not once. Because she is my mom. She took care of me for years. I will return the favor. I love her no matter what, Alzheimer's and all.

As I sit here writing, I dread the night. I used to hope for sleep. End the day. Begin a new one tomorrow. Wipe the slate clean. Tonight I hope my dreams bring me peace because tomorrow I go to visit her and I never know what that will bring.