Friday, August 24, 2012

Not Sure How We Arrived Here, Knowing Where We Started From...

Long before the diagnosis, there were the isolated and by all appearances random moments of out of the ordinary behaviors.  Even having said this, I could argue that nothing was out of the ordinary given my mother's way of being in the world.  Hadn't she always been less attentive and not quite aware of the space around her.  I wonder how long the Alzheimer's was present before I began to catch on.  I remember getting enraged with some of her behaviors but even then not making the connection.  I'd chalk them up to her apathy.

Did she know what was happening?  In retrospect...was Alzheimer's in the car the day she drove me down the highway in the wrong lane careening head on towards approaching cars.  You shake your head that I even have to ask,  but approaching things head on was always her way.  I remember pleading with her to allow a home based companion, handicap accessories in the shower, meals on wheels and to have the washer and dryer moved to the first floor from the cellar.  She ranted and raved accusing me of trying to ruin her life by controlling her life.  What she never understood were my desperate attempts to keep her in her own home and safe at the same time.

Even now as I write this, I can still see her as she walked out of her home for the last time.  She paused in the doorway and looked back over her shoulder perhaps capturing the scene for all time.  She knew she would never return, just as I knew.  It is the saddest part of her story for me so far.  In short time after moving into the Alzheimer's facility, she began to unravel.  It amazed me and still does when I think about how rapidly her descent began.  I ask myself all the time if I caused this by taking her out of her familiar surroundings of home.  Did I inadvertently in my efforts to keep her safe,  push her straight into her downfall?  The other option is that perhaps the safety of her new living arrangement allowed her to let go of the tight control she'd been hanging onto.  Perhaps she knew she was falling all along.  Unfortunately for me, I don't get to know the answer.  It's become what I like to refer to as my baggage.  We all have some....this is mine.

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