I Remember You…

That Groovy ’70’s Show

Does she?

My mother is in the throes of what one of her doctors called “early onset dementia”.  That’s debatable because I rather think she’s already there.  Coming upon this reality of my mother’s mental capacity was a frying pan in my face, but it seems that it was a gradual process for my mother, creeping up on her these six years since my father’s death.  I have taken to thinking of her condition as Spousal Death Trauma (SDT), not from medical journals nor doctor approved, but if the shoe fits…

A time for quiet

Sure, physical death is painful.  I thought watching my father’s slow death back in 2005 would be the worst thing I’d ever experience.  But I was wrong.  Watching my mother’s mental death is the worst thing I’ll ever experience.  I’ve been trying to take care of her (along with my aunt of the Old Ladies fame) for over a year now, but it is hard to know where to begin.  It’ll make your head spin, trying to organize other people’s lives, from Social Security to bank accounts to doctor’s appointments, look for me under the obscene amount of paperwork while on hold for the next available representative.

Nature’s first green is gold

During a recent visit with my Old Ladies, my mother started to confuse me with one of her nieces.  A niece who lives in Korea and whom I’ve never met.  I don’t know what to feel about that.

But in between the mistaken identities, never-ending doctor visits, and avalanche of paper, I have discovered a way to connect to my mother: I cook for her the things she used to cook and bring her the things she liked (and still likes) as a child.

Leaf subsides to leaf

When I make the fried zucchini (from post Love in the Time of Zucchini) she used to make, and she eats it and remembers, it is a shared moment-in-time:  Dinner with my dad around our old brown formica table.  And while I am mostly happy to see my mother’s exuberance, on par with that of a young child, bubble up when she sees the persimmons I bring her, it is unsettling to see her revert so far back.

I know time is running out…

So Eden sank to grief

and when she is gone…

Memories of times past…

I do know what I will feel about that.

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