Remember when I drove to Joe's funeral with my sisters? They were all a twitter about our mom's forgetfulness. I'd noticed it. They were borderline offended by it though, as if she was doing it intentionally to irritate them. I was like WELL, ONCE SHE CAN'T FIND HER WAY HOME FROM THE GROCERY STORE, THEN WE HAVE A PROBLEM.
Well, she still seems to manage the grocery store route, but her forgetfulness is becoming increasingly obvious. She just turned 80 in March, and as of 8 months ago she was SO sharp. She's never had any health issues, but refuses to go to the doctor for checkups, or for ANYTHIHG. She probably hasn't been to a doctor for decades. Probably not since her knee replacements some twenty odd years ago. No joke.
|Shh! Don't tell Lad. The girls put one |
of Curly's old bows in Finn's hair.
He looks so pretty. In other words,
I had no photos to go with this post.
One Christmas, pre-pandemic back when my folks always hosted, Mom had a horrible cough. Bronchitis or pneumonia? She still hosted and refused to go to the doctor. Aunt Leprechaun is a family practice doctor, and she can't convince Mom to get a checkup.
As Coach says, "Your mom is the most stubborn person alive." He's not wrong.
I find it odd that she still visits the dentist and takes care of her teeth, because what good are her teeth if her body is failing?
I'm not sure if she has dementia, but I do wonder if her memory issues stem from the time spent stuck in the house isolated during the pandemic. My dad has leukemia, so they really didn't go anywhere or see anyone for years in order to try to keep my compromised dad healthy. Back in the day, Mom attended morning mass daily and was out and about often. They are starting to venture out a bit now, but not much.
In addition to her memory issues, she's lost weight. Like A LOT of weight. She wasn't overweight to begin with, but had just a little extra cushioning. If I had to guess, I think she's lost over 20 pounds. Her clothes hang on her frame.
A few weeks ago, I went to a going away party for a woman. She's the oldest of 7 sisters who my sisters and I Irish danced with when we were growing up. These girls were pure fun and our families have always kept in touch, but we don't see them very often.
Anyway, I saw some of the sisters at the party. I learned that one sister, Fran, who is my age, suffered a few strokes in the last year. She's doing well now, under a doctor's care. Anyway, one morning when I was out for a run, I passed Mom on her walk. I slowed down (not by much, because remember what my kids say: I run slower than I walk) and updated Mom on all the sisters. She was very upset and worried about Fran.
|You know what's nice? |
therapy on the floor of
your very own
family room. I didn't
say it didn't hurt,
but it is convenient.
Coach working on
my sore toe a few weeks
ago. Lookie there,
I did have a photo that
could go with this post.
Then we borrowed Dad's car and I had to drive him (in his car) to his physical therapy appointment at Coach's office. Overlap much? Anyway, I asked Dad if he'd heard about Fran's strokes? He hadn't.
When I drove him home, I walked him inside and said hi to Mom. Before I left, he told Mom about Fran's strokes. "OH, NO! THAT'S AWFUL." Mom was upset all over again.
I reminded her gently, "Remember Mom? We talked about this. Fran is doing well. They learned that cousins in Ireland around her age were struggling with similar issues and they believe it's hereditary. They've gotten it under control."
A day after we returned from Wisconsin, I called Mom and told her I was cancelling my flights to GA. Planning to drive. I explained that flights being cancelled was becoming common.
Mom: OH, YES. I HEARD ANN TELL ____, OH, UM. WELL, ANN TOLD SOMEONE THAT SAME THING. I CAN'T THINK OF HER NAME.
Me: (I guessed each of Ann's children)
Mom: NO, NO. UM, YOUR SISTER. WHO LIVES IN MILWAUKEE.
Me: OH, MARIE. ANN TOLD MARIE THE SAME THING?
We'd just spent three days together and Marie never left Mom's side, but Mom couldn't remember her name.
All of this to say, my heart is sad. I fear Mom is slipping away. There are things my parents have done and said that have hurt me over the years. I struggle with Mom's closeness with my two sisters. My sisters demand that closeness though, rely on it - and I do believe I'm more independent, less needy, and ultimately stronger because of my original thinking, and clearer vision of reality. Still, knowing I'm left out of things hasn't been easy.
I've decided that I can't afford to let anger and frustration interfere with my relationship with my folks. I'm choosing to move past it, fearing that when they are gone I'll regret allowing my frustrations to taint our interactions. My parents live closer to me than any of their offspring. I can walk there in under 10 minutes (running there in 12 min, I KID).
I'm making more of an effort to stop by and see them, or to invite them over, which they won't always agree to. Because my sisters literally monopolize them, this is the only solution I can come up with - box my sisters out (this is a basketball defensive move where one blocks another with her body in order to get good positioning to rebound, lest you think I might be considering boxing with someone), so I can enjoy some time with my folks minus my hovering, controlling sisters.
To be clear, I never stopped having a relationship with them or stopped talking to them. I'm just not great at planning out visits. Tis the nature of our busy life, while both my sisters are practically empty nesters.For example, on Mother's Day, I walked over to give Mom her card. No one was home. Coach and I finished our walk and I left the card on her porch. Later Mom called me, thanked me for the card. She told me that she saw me walk by with Coach from the window of the restaurant in their neighborhood where she and Dad were having lunch with Ann. It was Mother's Day, and Ann couldn't text me to say - HEY, COME INSIDE AND SAY HI. WE JUST SAW YOU WALK BY.
Mom even pointed out that they saw me walk by at the start of my loop and AGAIN at the end of my loop. So, twice. Really? You couldn't walk to the door and say hi? Mom doesn't have a phone (remember? stubborn).
Mom said she and Dad had gone over to Pat's house in the evening on Mother's Day to listen to an Irish band practice he was hosting. It was irritating to not get to see her on Mother's Day, but par for the course.
I have a few funny stories of my recent encounters with my folks. You know what I've decided is the least elderly-friendly experience of all time? The DMV. One day soon, I'll explain. Dang, so much to talk about, and only two posts a week.
Do your elderly relatives manage things like the internet, DMV, remote controls? Do your people visit the doctor? Do you know anyone who has gone down hill memory-wise since being confined by covid?