Friday, July 13, 2012

Blog 38: I Miss Mom's Loving Instructions

I recently returned from a trip to Alaska.  Usually before I go on vacation my mom would give me loving instructions to be safe, take lots of pictures, have lots of fun, and to call her when I get there so she knows I made it there safely.  Of course I don't get those motherly instructions anymore, she is not capable because she doesn't understand.

When I told her I was going to Alaska, she said she wants to go there.  Then she forgot within minutes.  I knew that, but I still wanted to tell her I was going, just for the slim possibility that she might tell me to be careful, or something like that.  It made me sad.  I wished she could have gone on this trip.  Even though my mom was never really a traveler, she would have really enjoyed all the mountains.  She loves mountains and she loved to paint them.  I was feeling sad that my mom's world is never going to be outside of a nursing home.

I thought of buying her a souvenir, like I used to do.  But where would she put it?  She doesn't have much space in her little room.  Besides, she would forget about who gave it to her and why it was there anyway.

The night I left Anchorage I was thinking about a lot of the troubles in my family, and my life, in general.  This was one of those times, like many times, that I was thinking of Mom. The plane was taxying down the runway and I sensed a strong wind outside as the wing bounced up and down a little.  There was a brief second where it took my breath away, and I started feeling emotional that my Mom didn't give me a 'have a safe flight and call me when you return' message.  I was really feeling sorry for myself that nobody did.  I attributed my emotional feelings partially to being so fatigued from the busy travel week, from the ending of a vacation of a lifetime, and the let down of going home and facing the reality of my life (with the situation of my mom and my sisters, mainly), and facing an all-night flight, where I was sure I wasn't going to be able to sleep.  Which I didn't, by the way.

When I returned home I went straight to bed, and when I awoke I had a voice message from my sister to call her.  She told me about her visit with Mom a couple of days ago. She said she had a nice time with her, but she also told me something she said she struggled about telling me, but she knew I'd be there shortly and I would see it myself.  My mom had apparently scratched out my face in a couple of pictures hanging on her wall, and ripped one picture in half.  Annie wasn't sure Mom had actually done it because she told Annie she didn't know who did.  But Annie's daughter was there earlier in the week and she said my mom told her she did it because I took her accordion and won't give it back.  Annie said she kept telling her that too.  Annie reassured her that I did not have her accordion.  Renee has it, and up until this past week, Mom knew that.

Mom has been talking about that accordion, as many Alzheimer's patients do about things they get fixated on.  But she always knew Renee had it and kept saying Renee needs to give it back.  Now, she thinks I have it.  I wonder who planted that seed?  Maybe nobody did, maybe it's just her illness causing the confusion.  I wish Renee would just put it in her room so it brings Mom some comfort.  It's obviously a big deal to her, and it's a small matter to just place it on her shelf so she can look at it.

My feelings were hurt, but that's nothing new.  I usually bounce back though and don't let it get me down for too long.  I have a life to live and that's what my mom would tell me if she could.  She would tell me to be happy. So that is what I'm trying to do.  This is a long, hard road, and it's not easy, but I'm trying to be strong.


  1. That's always so hard to deal with - here, it's the stolen swimming suit - it's really tough to put it to the back of your mind.

  2. I wonder why the accordion is not left in her room? It should be with her if it means so much to her.