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Wednesday, September 25, 2013

::An Update on Mom::

Well, I've been promising some updates on this blog for many of those who've so kindly asked about mom's progress in her disease. So I'll try and fill everyone all in best in can...through words. Several years ago mom got diagnosed with what is called, "frontal lobe dementia". It's been very sad to see her decline so quickly in this disease. My last memory of my mom showing any sort of emotion about her  condition was when I was pregnant with Marli and I had taken mom with me to my ultrasound appointment. I had asked her several questions about if she realized how things were going, and she just began to cry. She explained to me that she often felt trapped in her own body when she wanted to say certain things but the words just wouldn't come out. She expressed frustration and a genuine sadness that she knew there wasn't anything she could do about it and she also vocalized concern that it's just going to get worse and how that made her sad. It has sure progressed rapidly.  :( I won't ever forget that moment with my mom in the car in our driveway before leaving to go to this appointment and how we just cried. How thankful I am for these specific memories of her emotions and so glad she was able to spend that day with me. I have not seen her show any emotion about her mental state since that day...even when I ask her about how things are going every single time I see her. I ask her specific questions about her mind, words, etc. and I get no response regarding how she feels about it all.

Mom and I have spent much time together since this time, and we still see each other weekly, but things are very, very different. Mom doesn't have the capability to do anything for herself anymore. She can't get dressed, follow simple instructions, use the bathroom, or buckle her seatbelt just to name a few. She doesn't know hardly any of our names anymore. In fact, I was very surprised to hear her say "Jessica" while speaking on the phone with my brother Jason a couple of weeks ago. That's the first time in years I can remember her even saying my name. She doesn't know any of our kids names, and often times even doesn't know who dad is. She still seems happy and content...just extremely quiet. Having a conversation is very difficult. She will answer you but typically with a "oh yes..." followed by a giggle. 

Mom stayed with us for a few days a couple of weeks ago, and it was interesting...when the kids would ask me for things by addressing me as "mommy" My mom would always respond as if they were talking to her. :) They'd often try to get her attention by addressing her as "Mimi" and she never responded to that. I found that interesting but it makes sense, she's been a mom much longer than a "mimi". It was astounding to me, how difficult of a time she had doing anything at all, and how she couldn't follow the most simple instruction. I, however, was honored to be able to take care of her even just for a few days. After all, she raised me and gave me all of herself for so many years. We laughed (even though I'm not sure she ever really knew what we were laughing at) We read magazines while the kids slept (although after putting the kids in bed one day, I came down to read magazines with her and couldn't find the ones I set on the couch next to her...she had hid them under the couch) haha...maybe that was her way of saying she didn't care to read them. ;) We enjoyed time together...but it did make me miss how things used to be. The worse she gets, the farther away the memories of her healthy are in my mind. I'm scared I'm eventually going to forget how she really used to be...and I don't want to forget. I want to be able to remember those characteristics of hers that I've always loved and admired...that just is feeling more and more distant. 

She recently had a shunt put in her brain to help drain fluid off of her brain. This has helped with her incontinence a tiny bit, but wasn't expected to help with her dementia. She's recovering well from that. I am blessed beyond words for the years I've had with my sweet mom, and I'm especially thankful for the years I had her as a dear friend. She taught me so much. I do have moments where I wish I could pick the phone up and ask her what in the world she would do when her kids were acting crazy, or have her come with me to the kids appointments and help me wrangle all of them up, or call about a certain recipe, or relationship....those things I miss....but I'm eternally grateful for all of the memories I do have. I sure love you, Mom. It's my privilege to help take care of you now...I wish things were different, but I'm grateful you don't really know any different and that you are still happy. ;) 

Here's a picture from Mother's Day when I convinced mom to let me do her hi-lights and make-up. 
She's beautiful. 

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