Don't Judge Me If I Feel Angry Because My Mom Has Alzheimer's!
By Michelle Piatt on March 19, 2012
I called the Alzheimer’s Association one day when my mother was refusing to have a shower. I needed to know what to tell the care worker so that it would go more smoothly for everyone. We went through every possible reason why my mother suddenly was refusing care. In the end it was just “because”. That is the great thing about Alzheimer’s…there is no logical reason for anything because nothing is logical. There are no black and white solutions. Every solution is colored like a finger painting…a grand mess that makes sense only to the hands of the artist. I have stared out at the 90 year old man across the street who still drives his car and I just can’t figure out why my mom is stuck in her own world, not able to steer herself in any direction, let alone drive a car! Why did she have to be the one who woke up and didn’t know who I was? She was always my “best friend”. She was the one I called when I was angry with my husband for leaving his socks on the floor when we were first married or upset when my baby had a high fever and he wouldn’t stop crying. My mom always had the answer for me. She owned and ran a business. She raised three children alone when my father died. This woman was a woman ahead of her time. She was the kind who would be speaking at functions or throwing grand parties. Now, this horrible disease has reduced her to a person lost in a confused world. I have constantly been fighting for her to keep her dignity. I dyed her hair because she wanted me to..even though it didn’t make much sense. But, if I was little and wanted to dress-up and put on make-up, she let me. Why shouldn’t I let her get dressed up and look great even if there is no place to go? She wanted a lipstick…I went and got her one. She wanted a nice ring to wear and since she’s lost all her real gold jewelry, I bought some costume rings that could pass as something with bling. We have our good days and our bad ones. Sometimes she’s ever-present and sometimes she’s in such a far-off land that she won’t even speak. She’s not a mean soul, though. I’ve heard some people with the disease get very mean. Once in a while she’ll be blatantly honest and say inappropriate things. I apologize profusely, of course. It feels a lot like having a child that is not growing up, but growing down. It’s not like I know this stage is going to pass and something better will be ahead, like I know would happen with a child’s behavior. They say things will only get worse for my mom. That I should prepare myself for more difficulties. My mom…my best friend…my confidente…the one who I traveled Europe with and who taught me to write, read, sing and everything else I know…is no longer with me. The mom who is with me is someone I teach, read to, write for and talk for. She is still my mom, though. I love her and respect her and I never want her to leave me. But, I know, that time is soon. So when your see me looking angry, don’t judge me. I’m not angry at my mom. I’m angry because this stupid disease has taken her away from me way too early. No…it’s not logical…but nothing is about Alzheimer’s, at least that’s what they say.
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