*by 'short post: not a total shock' I meant that the content had info that isn't a total shock, not that me drafting a short post should be a shock.
On Dec. 1st, my sister, Ann, texted in the sibling group chat. We don't use this group chat often. The last time was in early August when I texted an update about Reg's epilepsy. Ann had taken my folks to my mom's follow up appt for her cognitive test. I didn't even know that my mom had this appointment. Not like my mom would remember to mention it. I'm out of the loop is what I'm saying.
Anyway, Ann texted the cognitive test results: Mom has Alzheimer's.
This isn't a total shock, since her memory has been fading. Still, it bites. There's an earth-shattering shift from 'Mom's memory is failing' to 'Mom has Alzheimer's.' How long will she know us? I believe she's taking meds to slow the pace of the disease. How much will that help? No clue.
Will they stay in their house? Will they move to a community for seniors? If I have a vote, and you better believe that I don't, I'd vote they stay in their house for as long as possible. Remember, I can walk there.
My sisters took my folks to look at a retirement community in August. I wasn't informed. This ticked Mini off. My grandparents lived in this place. It's very nice. Dinners are prepared in the dining room. Activities are available for the residents. Everyone lives in their own little apartments.
I asked Mom afterwards what she thought about it. "I feel like I'd miss my house too much." I agree. They live in a ranch house. It's updated and decorated with very nice touches.
I feel like she'd be more confused after a move. Wouldn't that cause her to lose more ground?
I haven't really gotten to talk to Mom about her diagnosis. I called her that night, but she didn't feel like talking and passed the phone to my dad. I asked him if they wanted to go with me to Reg's game the next night. Yes, they would. I picked the two of them up. Marie was in town, so she hopped in the car too. Not exactly ideal for a heart to heart.
Then Coach and I took Reg and Curly to see Tank at school and watch a b-ball game over the weekend. Silly me, I thought I'd squeeze the road trip story into this post too.
I get a little weepy thinking about what I'll say. I want to know if she's scared. I also don't want to know. I cry thinking about what it would be like to know that you are gradually slipping away and that one day you won't know anyone or anything that was once so familiar.
Overall, I want to reassure her that we'll all be there regardless of whether or not she knows us. We'll do whatever is possible to make her feel comfortable and loved.
I keep thinking that I wish we had a safe word. Like, what if there was a word that I could whisper to her to let her know that I'm there. What would you tell someone if you were going to travel through time and you planned to meet up again and you wanted to be sure they knew that you were indeed you - just in a different time?
So, I'm crying now and I need to stop crying because we aren't telling the kids this news until the college kids are home after final exams. To keep things light, I've decided that my safe word, which is really more of a safe phrase is this:
We're laughing now, right? Not sure about you, but I needed a good laugh.
Of course a safe word won't work, but it's kind of how my mind is operating. I'm also thinking about making her a pillow with a photo of all of us, or most of us. Kidding. Maybe a pillow with a family photo on it would bring her comfort. Who knows? I'm not sure how to proceed. Hoping the kids don't crumble. Maybe they've already assumed that she has Alzheimer's.
|The gluten version. I skimped on|
the stuffing - I doubled the
recipe, but not the stuffing mix.
I figure they're lucky I'm
making a gluten version at all.
I promise you this. I'm grateful. (Well, I'm frustrated and mad too, but more about that another time). Super grateful that this didn't strike years ago. She's 80, and she still knows us. There are still memories to be made.
Here's a photo of cacciatore-style chicken bake. I made it for dinner tonight. Mini isn't crazy about this, but it's really good. I reached back into the archives since Mini's not home. Plus, I had no photos of sadness.