Today I helped my mum get ready for church. She was up by herself all washed and dressed. She had made and eat her cereal breakfast. I brought her coat and shoes from upstairs for her. She looked lovely, as she left the house for her lift. I found myself feeling proud.
The pride that a mother must feel for her child as he/she goes off to school, or to an event. My mum has not been to mass for a couple of weeks. She found the stress of getting ready for a certain time too much. Today she was up, ready and raring to go. I smiled as she confidently left the house.
My mum has been saying for the past few weeks that “You become the children and they become the adult.” Apparently, her aunt used to say this a lot, as she herself got elderly. However, my mum has not been enjoying the experience. She hates feeling dependent upon other people for lifts, for help, for anything. She wishes she was still independent. She continues to say “she does not want to spoil my life”.
But her anxiety about stuff, about forgetting to do things, keeping appointments etc. has become mine. I now worry a lot about all this “stuff”. Has she taken her tablets, is there anywhere she should be? Do I know everything in order to ensure she does not miss important dates. I find myself really tired as I check stuff all the time. I check so, that if she asks “have I done…?” I can confirm that she has, without her having to get up and check the calendar or the medicine box. I wonder how many times she did this when I wasn’t here.
I have also been growing anxious about her getting up and down the front steps to the house. She manages them and takes it slow, but she is very frightened of falling. So, I arranged for handrails to be fitted. Much to mum’s horror and shame. She really did not want people to know that she is needing a little help now. White handrails on your front door do advertise it to the world, or the street at least. We argued about the her needing them, the fuss of getting them, the reality of having them as “she is fine” and does not require them!
But descending the steps on her way out to the car today, she said. “Oh these handrails really are good”. I laughed and cried at the same time. I wish we did not have to have all the angst beforehand, it really is draining me.
She returned from church in buoyant mood. The priest had asked her where she had been for the last couple of weeks. My mum had confidently replied “here, where else have I been?”
I then made a big mistake and reminded her that she had not been. as she had found it difficult getting up and ready in time. A row ensued where I was accused of not believing her, no one believing her. I learned basic lesson number one of caring for someone with memory problems. Never argue. There really is no point for either of you. You both end up feeling bad.
We are settling down to Sunday lunch now. The meal I have taken over preparing in order that mum only has to think about church on Sundays. She had become anxious about getting back in time to cook it. So, we are relaxed again, for now.