Wednesday, May 22, 2013
Blog 70: She's Sexy and She Knows It
My mom was all giddy when I spoke to her on the phone the other day. I knew the reason why as soon as her caregiver told me they hired another person, and it’s a man. That explained her giddiness. Ever since Mom became ill with Alzheimer’s she has taken a renewed interest in men. I remember how she fell head over heels for a young caregiver in his twenties at the assisted living facility she was in a year and a half ago. It’s almost like she is a young schoolgirl in love again. She misunderstands the care and attention she receives from them as if they have romantic feelings for her. It’s not every man, only the ones who are very sweet and caring towards her and engage in playful conversation. You can’t blame her for that, isn’t that what most women like? Alzheimer’s hasn’t changed that part about her.
My mom was once a very sexy woman with a gorgeous body and beautiful face. Men adored her. That, I know. I think she knew she was sexy when we were young girls, though she never acted that way. She was very modest. She didn’t fall for men as easily as they fell for her. I do remember watching her get all dolled up when she went on dates after my parents divorced around 1969. I just sat on her bed and watched her put on all that stuff before she even put her dress on…bra, panties, garter belt, stockings, slip, perfume, powder, make-up, and rollers in her hair. I thought, geez, I don’t ever want to grow up if I have to put all that stuff on! I only wish I had pictures of her then. She was not one to take pictures, so all of that is only a memory I have. It is no longer a memory of hers, so I am keeping it safe for both of us.
Here's a picture of my mom and dad. I'm not sure of the year but I think it was after my birth in 1956. My mom went on to have four more daughters but she never lost her beautiful figure. I showed her this picture three months ago and she said her name and my dad's name, and acted as if it wasn't even her.
Just moments before talking on the phone with my mom, I could hear her yelling at the top of her lungs as this new man was walking her down the hallway to change her diaper. I hate using that word and much prefer to use the term undergarment, but the reality is she can no longer use the toilet, and so she goes in her diaper and has to be changed like a baby. And sadly, my mom doesn’t see that as a total embarrassment as she would have just a couple of years ago. What choice does she have anyway? She doesn’t even know herself anymore. She used to always say she had a shy bladder and she never wanted anyone to be around when she used the restroom, let alone a man. Life is different for her now.
I chatted with this new caregiver and got his name before he gave my mom the phone. He speaks good English, so I am happy that I will be able to talk to him more easily about my mom. I told him I will be visiting my mom next week and I look forward to meeting him. Soon I will get to see my mom again. Excitement and apprehension is what I always feel before I see her. I know, I know, my mom may not recognize me when she sees me.
Mom took the phone and we had our usual, yet very unusual, conversation. However, she was laughing more, right from the get-go. She was giddy, maybe love struck again? Does she feel sexy? And you know what? I hope she does. I am certain she had already forgotten about getting her diaper changed just moments earlier. As I said in a previous post, Mom doesn’t make much sense anymore. Her voice is exactly the same and I so love to hear her voice. Most of the time I just talk and ask her if she is still there and she responds with a ‘yeah’. I sang ‘You are My Sunshine’ like I always do and she made some la, la, la sounds. I told her that her granddaughter, my daughter, is getting married next year. I’ve told her that many times before but of course she doesn’t remember. It’s really heartbreaking that she won’t be able to attend the wedding, though I try not to think about that. Mom asked me if she has a baby yet. I was surprised to hear her say something that actually made sense. She used to tease my daughter and her boyfriend about when they are going to have a baby. Then I asked her if she could name her daughters because she seemed to be just a little more ‘with it’ than usual. Of course she couldn’t, and all she said was, “There’s a lot of them in the garage.”
It was good to hear my mom laugh and be happy, even though it’s sad that she is not the same. I guess if she’s going to have Alzheimer’s and dementia, she might as well enjoy herself and be happy in this mixed up world of hers, because it's better than being miserable. I certainly don’t want her to be as sad as I am that she is drifting away and losing herself and all of the memories of her daughters and everything else about her life. If she feels sexy, then I can smile, because that will make her happy.