Out of the blue one day, Dorothy turned her car keys over to my brother. Just like that- gave them to him and stated firmly-“I’m not driving anymore”. No questions were asked, no reason was given. To this day, we still don’t know if she drove around for hours not knowing where she was, if she had almost gotten in a wreck-or if some aggressive driver had blown the horn at her and scared her. All we know is -we were relieved- we did not have to confront this issue.
I believe when it’s time to turn in our car keys- it’s has to feel like the ultimate loss of independence.
It has to feel like -the beginning of the end. Instantly – you are constantly dependent on someone, anyone to get you to where you want to go. You are back where you started in this life – where you trusted other people to care and protect you.
The line “You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone” is quite relevant in old age. When we get to the point where all of our freedoms are slowly going by the wayside- we can’t help but feel sad- and reflect on what we had. I’m sure this line goes through every old person’s head- one way or another- when youth slowly fades away.
Other things began to fade away for mom after the car keys. Dorothy stopped wanting to go to the grocery store, stopped wanting to go on a walk. She pretty much shut down for a while- and I’m pretty sure this was the beginning of the depression state that Dementia adds to our being. It’s hard to watch someone with so much energy and love of life- get slowed down- by a disease.
All Dorothy needs or anyone with this (a) disease is someone to be there for her/them. So be that person- be there for them or find someone that can be that person. She doesn’t remember- she’s confused-she’s irritated-she’s scared- she’s lonely. In some cases, people don’t want to be helped- and it’s hard to be the one that’s wants more than anything to help them -let it go. If and when they are ready for help-they will reach out and let you know. I’m glad that my brother and I are there for her- it’s comforting knowing that she’s not going through this alone.
So find a way to be there, to be available, find something you can do – no matter how small- but, only if you want to.
Peace & Love,