Hello, I have a friend who is just getting started with her mom on their journey of Dementia. This is a letter that she wrote her family- she then shared it with me- I asked her if I could share it with you. And she agreed. Every story is different.
Peace & Love,
Hi, everybody. This is a plea, and I hope you’ll grant me the time to read this and the respect to consider all that I’m asking.
Mom is a bit of a mess. She’s an emotional wreck, and I believe (though I’m not a psychologist) that she is slipping into some type of dementia. I have spent hours over the past week talking and listening to her, and things are clear: she is not the same person we knew even six months ago.
Now look, we all know mom can be hard to deal with; we ALL can be. But she is our mother, mother-in-law, grandmother, etc., and it’s time we ALL put Christian and just basic loving values at work and treat her with kindness and patience. Let shit roll off your back. Stop trying to improve her. Stop trying to teach her new skills or change her. Deal with her AS SHE IS and LET GO of your wishes that she be or do something different. It’s not going to happen.
She is extremely defensive these days; I can breathe the wrong way and she thinks that I’m making a snide comment to her when I’m not. I’m trying to learn how to back out of those situations and get her to put down her armor. It’s not easy. None of this is easy.
I came to visit and stayed with her last Saturday, and on both days, she went through the same review of her childhood that we’ve all heard before. Normally, I would recoil, but on Sunday, I got up from my chair and sat beside her on the sofa. I then simply wrapped my arms around her and let her cry. None of us can help what she remembers as a bad childhood; we weren’t there and we don’t know what she’s looking for from us. But just LISTEN and care. Just do that!
Now, here’s a topic she’s especially sensitive about: her physical therapist, Bill. Okay, so she has a crush on the guy. SO WHAT?!? Let her! Let her love the man in whatever way she defines that love! Let her send him flowers for Valentine’s Day! Let her make him 40 scarves or 50 pairs of bedrooms slippers – whatever! Let her flash him her breasts in the waiting room or parking lot! Let her do whatever she wants to do (that he doesn’t mind going along with)! WHO CARES? His wife doesn’t; why should we? She’s not hurting anyone. Let her see him four times a day if he can manage that. WHO CARES? It makes her happy; he makes her happy. Leave your criticisms and mean-spirited humor OUT OF IT. Stop judging. Just let her be happy having him as a young “friend.” Let it be.
I love mom; she is my mother. But I also am going to stand up for myself and ask ALL OF YOU to HELP ME in spending more time with her and simply BEING NICE TO HER. Talk to her on the phone. Take those beautiful grandkids to see her. Just BE KIND and LET HER BE HER. It’s time.
Thanks for listening.