My Mother is Disappearing

Slowly but surely, my mother is disappearing in front of us, and there’s not a damn thing we can do to stop it.

I already feel as though I’m grieving her loss, even though she is very much alive. It’s as though she’s wasting away to nothing, a skeleton of the person she once was, even though her body looks the same.

I first noticed the difference about six years ago, and brought it to the attention of my sister who brushed it off. I thought, maybe I’m imagining things. Maybe I’m just over-sensitive and need to have more patience.

It was blatantly obvious to me though, when two days in a row she would call and we would have the exact same conversation, word for word. I knew that wasn’t normal, but I lived thousands of miles away, so I depended on my sister and father to be aware and notice.

A year passed by before my sister agreed. She went on a trip with my parents. For four days, first thing in the morning, my mom would repeat the same thing to her. My sister became frustrated, and told her they’d already had that discussion.

Within the next couple years it got worse. We begged her and pleaded with her to go get checked out. Finally, after many tears and guilt trips and hurt feelings, she did.

Dementia.

She was put on medication that helped for a while. Her driving got worse, and still is deteriorating. In my opinion, it scares me to think she still can get behind a wheel and drive. She gets lost going to places she’s been going for years. She panics on the freeway when she looks around and doesn’t recognize where she’s at.

Conversations with her have to be shallow. The talks I used to cherish with her are long gone. We can no longer laugh about things that happened in the past. I can’t have debates on current topics with her. She repeats herself over and over again.

I miss her, even though she’s still alive.

But, what hurts the most is that I know her connections with people are slowly disappearing. Her sister whom she is the closest with, no longer calls her several times a week. My sister used to talk to her for hours every day, yet that has stopped as well. They still speak, but the conversations are short and sporadic.

I wonder if she notices. I wonder if she is lonely. I wonder what she feels when my dad loses his patience with her. I want to wrap my arms around her and tell her that I’m there for her no matter what. I want to take her fear away. I want it to stop, but I know it’s just going to get worse.

There will come a day that she doesn’t recognize me. I will be a complete stranger to her.

I am so thankful my children are old enough that they will remember her and the way she used to be. I will regal them with stories of her antics when I grew up to keep her memory alive when hers fails.

I will remember the love she has for me, when she can’t remember my name.

I’m losing my mother.

She’s disappearing.

And there’s not a damn thing I can do to stop it.