About Me

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Spokane, WA
This profile photo is my mom and me at the beach--she is 26 and I am about 18 months. LOVE the joy!! I am a mom of three and a teacher; being a teacher means I have to go back and cut the f-bombs. There were a few. Because Alzheimer's sucks badly. This blog, for nine years now--skipping a few while I was too cheap to buy my domain name-- helps me un-peel and process the endless layers of sad woven with weird and--impossibly--comedy.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Fricking Mama Cass

                 The thing about me and processing this whole "my mom is kind of a zombie now" thing is this: I can be all cerebral about it and learn about the 5-7 stages and consider where she is in them; two or three times a day I get scared because I can't remember something like Dan Marino's name-today I couldn't remember Foghorn Leghorn- And I mostly glide along enjoying the gifts of this life                   I've built with my beautiful family, but always with a nagging presence..a gentle whispy cloud.. of grief.
               Then I'm just working out at the YMCA and using my daughter's pink MP3 player because I didn't bring my own Ipod, and there's these songs my dad put on it and suddenly I'm crying on the elliptical listening to Mama Cass sing "Dream a Little Dream of Me."
And once I start grieving, I have to switch gears quick, because I can't just lay down and sob..especially at the YMCA.
               It happened dancing at this bar with my friends a few months ago, too. There was bad jazzy blues and people dancing like they used to at the Top Hat in Missoula and I thought about how I had to go to Blues Festivals with my mom there. She LOVED jazz and blues, and I really didn't..but that entire genre for me is painful now. I mean, even more so. It represents to me how she used to be when she had preferences and passion and brushed her teeth and knew who I was and it's...a lot.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

record of demise

I'm always waiting for it..the vacant stare that lets me know my mom doesn't get who I am anymore. I think she'll always be glad to see me. I always look pretty when I go because it feels less shitty, plus that's how she would recognize me. But the delay between the first blank stare and a glint of recognition is getting longer..she still relates to me as the person who's going to take her away..and asks me to. She starts to discuss a disjointed escape plan, so I just redirect her to her juice.
Today we inadvertently went at mealtime, so we just stood next to her at the dining room/activity room, took her on a walk around the institutional grounds for ten minutes outside then brought her back. She told me she hated the olive colored velour sweats se was wearing. It was laundry day, so those were loaners, I suspect. She seemed to be in the lady diaper again, so her own pants could be too tight. Her weight fluctuates dramatically both because of the pull-up bulk and she eats in erratic patterns.
But anyway, I'm familiar to her..she knows she's glad to see us..but it's just so cloudy. She didn't talk about me being her daughter today,..and didn't say anything about the kids or their names..I know some visits are more lucid than others, but it's an hour drive so a 20 minute visit seems? I'm not sure. What we can all handle..
It is, in spite of the wonderful staff of nurses..ok, a few wonderful and the rest pretty good,,the saddest place I've been in my adult life. Perhaps even more sad than the half-way house with the psychotic street people. Different sad. I can't believe she could have been in Clare Bridge a few years ago if different choices had been made. That place is Buckingham Palace compared to where she is. sigh. It doesn't make me happier writing about it..but it does provide an insightful record of demise. So, that's something.

You got a prize!

I meant to write about the last time we went to see mom. It was a few weeks ago on/near her birthday and we brought white coconut cake. Selfishly, but also for her, I make my children come. It's more pleasant and normal for me, and can go much more quickly when they start running around. Yeah, they hate it there, but she seems to enjoy our visits more when their little faces are there..it's eerie though; the people there are so ill or decrepit they have so little humanity left; it takes everything to move their limbs..their ability to find joy in small children the way other old people do.. ANYWAY, we were opening my mom's gifts (Buying gifts for her was dismal. Knowing that she needs nothing because she doesn't do anything or go anywhere. Got her a cotton nightgown/dress and slippers) she was chewing on a ginger candy that she really enjoys (the ones you can get in the bulk section) However, one of the side effects of not having brushed her teeth for the past 6 months is that (she not only has killer gingivitis) her teeth are weak. Anyway, the candy pulled off one of her crowns. It was half white and half silver..like it had already been mended cheaply. Hell for all I know, it was the $1500 root canal. When she pulled the crown out of her mouth, still trapped in the ginger chew, Bella saw the silver glint and said excitedly, "Oh, grandma, you got a prize!"

Thoughtful young me

Thoughtful young me

Seventies chicks

Seventies chicks
Me and my mom Lynn, 1973