I saw my Mom today. She has been in the assisted living apartment for about 2 and half weeks. This is the first time I’ve visited her. We have put 1800 miles on the car since I saw her last. Our youngest daughter went off for her final semester of college 650 miles south of our home. After we got her situated (on the 4th floor!!), we took another few days to ourselves, cargo van and all.
Two and half weeks seems like a long time.
I had high expectations. After a rough start to last week (details I won’t go into), Mom seem to settle, and my “boots on the ground” sister was giving positive reports. ‘Mom wants decorative pillows for her bed’. ‘Mom wants pictures for her walls’. ‘Mom would like a full-length mirror’.
All good signs of “nesting”?
I took her picture frames with me. A box-full of family photos. I thought she would be excited to have faces to put with stories as nurses and techs walk in and out of her apartment. She seemed pretty ambivalent.
About me. About the pictures. About everything. Sigh
That is how I would describe my mother. Not nesting. Not settling in. Not happy.
I ate lunch with her — offered to take her out, but she opted to eat in the dining room. She only said the necessary words at lunch — ordered her dinner; answered direct questions. I attempted to make small talk with her and “her silly friends” as she had described them earlier. seriously??
We then went to a few stores, looking for a door “ornament” for outside her apartment. She also bought a hammer, screwdriver, pliers, and nails. Oops. I might hear about that from my siblings. But what was I suppose to do? I couldn’t hardly grab them out of her hands. ‘Mom, what do you need pliers for?’ ‘I don’t know, but I may need them’. She has always been a do-it-yourself kind of woman. But pliers? screwdriver? Oh well…..
We got back to her apartment in time to catch a few minutes of the live entertainment for the afternoon. A man in his early 60s, playing the piano and crooning some tunes. He was okay, but after 20 minutes, Mom looked at me and said, ‘let’s go’. Crept in 30 minutes late and left 10 minutes early. Not a great impression on her fellow residents. But again, oh well…
I took my leave at that point. I didn’t see any point in going back up to her apartment. I hugged her and said, ‘I love you, Mom’. I got a hug and an I love you back, but as I got in my car and drove away, I was a mess.
Who was that woman? That was not my mother. And that makes me very sad.
Is she mad? Depressed? Angry? Grieving?
I do believe those are the same questions I asked a few weeks back. I just don’t know.
But I do know, the woman I spent the day with is not the mother I know. The mother, if truth be told, who use to drive me crazy on many levels. Aren’t all mother/daughter relationships layered and complex??
It’s not even been 3 weeks; it’s still very early. It will take time.
This disease is so complicated.
I have cried all afternoon. I am grieving. I want my mother back.
Breathe in. Breathe out. Pray.