Pop-Pop would be proud

My son, who has just graduated high school, joined me on my visit with mom today. He is leaving tomorrow for the outdoor National track meet. He worked hard to qualify and proud seems too small a word for me to describe his accomplishments.

When he tells my mom, she quickly responds “Pop-Pop would be so excited for you if he were alive.”

I choke out a response about dad being able to cheer him on from above. My mom has never really talked about dad. It was heart-wrenching the first few months when she just wanted to know when he was coming back to their apartment. Now, she fully grasps that he is gone and her comment was a wonderful response to a momentus accomplishment.

My moms comment is so clear, normal, and true. I got a glimpse of the  gracious, witty woman who loved and admired dad too. Awestruck.

The Moments of Clarity with Dementia

magnifyMy Mom is doing better on the prescribed medications. My siblings and I are all noticing that some days, my Mom is very clear and chatty. I can’t say I perceive this as a memory improvement, but a demeanor improvement. On my last visit, my Mom revisited an ongoing topic — she has asked me several times “Why did Dad go first?”

I tell her the story about him saying the men go first. I wrote about this in October, 2012 — my Mom asked me “Who is going to help me when your father isn’t around to help anymore?” I told her that him dying first feels like how we moved from place to place — Dad always went first when we he was reassigned. We would stay behind and my Mom managed to sell the home if we owned it, pack the house and transition the family to the new residence.

My Mom chuckles at my analogy.

Many people marvel that my Mom can still be so with it. In my Mom, her dementia presented a combative woman who wouldn’t respond to reason and behave in very unbecoming ways. I recognized that her agitated behavior coincided when she didn’t seem to really know or understand what was going on. If human nature responds with fight or flight — my Mom is a fighter for sure.

On the new medications, you would just notice that my Mom has absolutely no short-term memory and has difficulty managing her day. She still gets dressed, albeit in the same outfit daily and likes to go run errands when I visit. She is much slower and naps a lot more now. I have not had any recent instances with jumbled or nonsensical sentences. Remarkably, she is also not challenging the presence of the personal aides and on several calls to my Mom she will report that she has a “friend” visiting.

The planner in me wonders how long this stage will last. Right now the daughter in me has decided that I will just enjoy being able to spend time with a loving mother. Savored.