My mama has had some strokes. She is slowly leaving us in her mind. The vascular dementia is eroding my mama of the past away.
A few years ago when I showed up at the house it took her a few second to recognize me. I had to prompt her. I was tempted at the time to tell her I was my older sister and see if that would fly.
I always make sure to label everyone when we go over and use their names often.
"Hi Mama it's P and JUR and Hansolo here to visit you!"
It alleviates the stress/anxiety for stroke victims to rely on their compromised brains.
Yesterday we finally got to make a trip over to see her. Its been a while.
My father called while we were there and asked who had come over.
She got flustered and couldn't remember my name. She glanced up to the wall of family photos and scanned them trying to get her broken mind to cough up the answer.
I called out my name but she didn't hear me.
"Its three." she kept telling him.
I have become three now. I am her third child.
In a while I will be just a kind face that comes to see her.
I have seen this progression a thousand times in my line of work.
I have watched a lot of minds dimmed by strokes, Alzheimers, dementia.
a strange thing to be aware of and witness.
The absolute worst I ever had to endure was a elderly doctor. He would stay up late at night being haunted by the babies he had lost in his practice. I would come on shift and find him sitting in is rocking chair cradling a wadded up blanket. Rocking it.
I would go in and touch his shoulder.
He would open his papery eyes and look up at me thought a puddle of tears and whisper. "I couldn't save him."
"I know." I would whisper back, and gently take the bundle from his arms.
I would put him to bed, but in a few hours I would find him kneeling over the bed doing "autopsies" on the babies who haunted him.
He once gabbed my hand as I went to remove the blanket from his arms. His eyes clear and sane for just a moment. "Tell me, is it wrong to pray for an early death?" he asked in a painful tone.
"No." I answered back and hugged him.
How awful it must be, to be just aware enough to know your loosing your mind.
What an frightening place that must be.
I took the "baby" from him and tucked him in bed.
Not long after that night, I walked into his room and he was sitting in the rocker as usual, but no blanket baby in his lap.
I touched his shoulder, and he looked up at me. There was only a quiet dull expression in his eyes. And...just like that the dementia had consumed him and his mind was separated from the painful past.
No more autopsies...
....and now no more P's.
Just me, Three, is left.
someday soon Three will be gone too, replaced by the kind face who stops by to visit....one day, the dementia will erase me completely. All she will see is a distant reflection of herself in my face.
That's a issue when you resemble someone so much. When her mother, my grandmother died, she was a patient in my nursing home. Her illness giving her rapid onset of dementia like symptoms. I would sit with her on my breaks and she wouldn't see me either, she only saw her daughter, and she told me a thousand things as if she was confessing and unburdening her soul to her daughter.
I got to hear all the apologies, explanations and sorry's that my mother spent her whole life wanting and needing to hear.
I wonder who will get to hear that stuff from my mama.