When Things Change
Four years ago or so, when I decided to start a blog about Mom, my original title and registered domain were Mom Is Still Mom. But I decided I might want to blog about things other than Mom, hence the current title.
Back then, Mom Is Still Mom seemed to be fitting. Mom had been diagnosed with mild to moderate dementia presented as short-term memory loss and cognitive impairment. But all of her social skills and muscle memories were in tact. I often said, “If you didn’t know she had dementia you wouldn’t know she had dementia.” Mom was still Mom.
And in some ways, I suppose, that is still largely the case. The frequency of my posts about Mom started to ebb off because for a couple of years we were in a sort of homeostasis. We are fortunate that Mom’s form of dementia, cerebral vascular, while not reversible, is controllable with good cardiovascular habits and medications. And I’d gotten through the learning curve of being her caregiver. But lately, something’s changed.
Ever so subtly, possibly even inconsequentially, Mom isn’t Mom anymore. She’s doing things that she never would have done in a bazillion years.
Are Your Arms Broken?
She’ll complain vehemently about how “crummy” the house it, but won’t lift a finger to help me clean, voluntarily at least. That is NOT my mother.
I clean in the morning, before showers. She’ll sit there on the couch and just watch me. Worse yet, she’ll backseat-driver me. “There’s a big glob of fur right there and you just keep going around it!” Ever worse, she’ll see me cleaning and announce, “Well, I think I’ll go get my shower.”
What am I? Cinderella?
“No Ma, before your shower, why don’t you help me clean this house?”
“I don’t know what you want me to do.”
“You could dust.”
“I don’t know what you want me to use.”
“I’ll get you a cloth.” Who are you and what have you done with my mother?
Even then, I can’t leave her unsupervised or she’ll use furniture polish on the books or window cleaner on the wood furniture.
I Have a Theory
I spent a good chunk of my career investigating airport incidents and writing reports. Who, what, where, when, how, and why are embedded in my psyche. So I naturally have to find a reason why Mom does the things she does.
I don’t believe my hardworking, roll-up-her-sleeves mother who chimed her mother’s catch phrase, “You can be poor but there is no excuse for being dirty.” is all of a sudden lazy. I think she can’t suss out how to perform tasks that always came so routine to her. And I think somewhere in the deep unconscious of her psyche, she knows this. And is scares her. It scares me, too.