This has been a Friday the 13th for the record books.
This is the first night that I have put both my daughter and mother to bed as a parent.
Today my mother was finally diagnosed with dementia. I’ve known for a long time that there is something wrong. From her confusing the cigarettes as a phone to her losing the ability to use the remote control to the television at all. She is usually high functioning in the morning but by evening all is lost.
My only refuge these days is when she finally goes to bed. She has taken to locking herself in her bedroom at dusk and I can only pray that if something happens then she will remember to push the button on her wrist that activates the box in the living room that calls for help.
She also has been falling more recently. This is a concern not only because of her osteoporosis but also because most of her back is constructed from rods and screws that could be broken. We also know that her body probably could not survive a third reconstruction of her back because of the heart attacks and strokes that have come in the past surgeries.
I have spent my years living with her thinking that it was all about me. I know now that I have to drag my sorry ass out of bed in the morning to care for the mother that worked two jobs while going to school when I was young so that I could eat and have clothes that fit and a new book bag each year.
My daughter is here tonight as well. She is sleeping soundly in my bed, curled up safe knowing that her mommy is here to keep her safe and fed and clean and happy. Tonight we, meaning me, made this her Easter. This is the first opportunity I have had to do so. I have spent months saving up coins and going to church sales to get her some pretty cool things. She smiled. That is all I could ever ask for. Tomorrow morning we will have “Easter egg” pancakes then we will color eggs and turn them into my family’s traditional Easter dinner: egg salad sandwiches. I used to be able to rely on the same things from my mother. This is how I know how to be a decent mother.
I have complained about my mother. Yes, she wasn’t perfect. She was messed up as a child and turned a blind eye to the abuse I received as a child from another. But, there were good things. There were smiles. There were times when I knew things would be alright, when I felt safe, when I felt loved.
Now I must learn that my mother is gone. She has evaporated into the distance. I will grieve in my own way, I have been for months. I don’t know how I will tell the brother that will no longer speak to me, that his mother is gone as well. Maybe he already knows. I don’t know the answers to anything right now.
I am exhausted. My days are filled with her temper tantrums, her slip-ups, mishaps, and her frustration over her memory. I am trying at this point to keep from trying to run away from the situation all together or turning deeper into my drinking or my many vice problems.
I don’t know why I am writing this. I suppose I just need to get out the feelings that I am feeling. I am having so many issues in my own head on top of this that the fight doesn’t seem fair.
I have also recently pushed away 99% of the people who care about me. To this I wish I could apologize. I feel terrible. I wanted to spare these people the pain of knowing me at all. Instead I caused them pain. I wish I could take it back. But now I am nearly alone. I suppose this is what I deserve.
Good night Internet world. I am not going anywhere.