My mother has bestowed on me her ultimate trust by handing over the bread bag she had filled with her dirty underwear. The event is both devastating and rewarding at the same time.
A year ago, my Mom would have at least one thing she said on each visit that was nonsensical but hit my funny bone. I’m now hearing clusters of conversations that don’t make sense and it’s not so funny anymore. I recognize the significance of these changes and wonder how long it will be until we can’t have even our limited conversations.
My mom and I walk into her bedroom to connect a new phone. As we are talking my Mom notices me looking at a bread bag near the dresser. Not only is it oddly shaped, food in the bedroom is something that was never tolerated by my mother so it immediately drew my attention. She tells me it’s her dirty underwear.
I know that my Mom has been hand-washing it for several months now. I previously shared the story about my Mom’s complaint that someone was stealing her underwear — she had just hidden them from the Assisted Living staff that would pick up and do her laundry. My Mom had forgotten she hid them all under her mattress and assumed someone stole them. I get not wanting someone to wash your underwear – for a period of time – the nanny that was living with us would do our laundry. The idea of someone else washing my underwear initially bothered me — but I quickly got over it when I realized how nice it was to have someone wash, fold and put away my clothes.
I ask my Mom if she would like me to take her clothes home and do the laundry. She asks “Will you wash my underwear?” I respond “Of course” and she hands over the bread bag filled with underwear. I look back on many of the stories where my Mom pushed me away, even when she needed the help. However, I see the cost to earning her trust was the loss of my Dad and a marked decline in her cognitive abilities.Entrusted.
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