Dear Mother, we love you.

Dear Mother,

Were you alive, I’m sure you would be horrified that I was telling tales on you.

In your life time, I would never have dared correcting your version of what happened. You would have found that disrespectful of me.

You would surely have found that last tale of the boy on the bicycle leaning somehow in his favour.

“Why am I always wrong?” I can hear you whip out at me. “Why won’t you believe what I say. I was there, after all.”

I found that you were always fearful. For all your gumption and success, you always had a timid, unsure side to your nature. You admired my assurance with the world. I assure you, I worked very hard at it and sweated horrifically under a calm appearance. I waited out situations that could have turned either way, and found that sometimes, more often than not, when I stood my ground, I won out.

I know that you did that also. You told us stories about how you did so; encouraged us to stand up for ourselves (unless we were standing up to you, which was not allowed).

What you did not see was how, as you aged, your vulnerability turned to paranoia. What you did not see was how, day after day, the television pumped out the lurid stories of the city – the people who had been house burgled, the pot houses that flourished in amongst the residential districts, the house invasions, the murders, the freed criminals, the Downtown East Side serial killers, gang wars and drive by shooting, swarmings, muggings, – and that was just the daily news.
Add to that the CSI crime unit tales of horror, the Law and Order trials exposing the rot in society, the gentler but no less horrific English detective tales like Rosemary and Thyme and Miss Marples.

One needed to be suspicious. Of people who came to the door. Of tradespeople. Even of one’s own family.

You did not see our puzzlement as what we considered ordinary events for you turned into potential crimes of theft, assault, battery or even murder.

I began to read about Alzheimer’s disease. Cousin Mary gave me pamphlets she had obtained at a course she took as she embarked upon the task of looking after my aunt, two years younger than Mother. I learned the difference between confusion as a disorder and memory loss occasioned by the brain disintegration of Alzheimer’s disease. The doctor assured me you did not have it. Your brain was bright and clear. Cognition was one of your strong points in this deterioration game called aging.

I learned that confusion came from dehydration more than it did from the act of aging. It could be reversed. If it weren’t for elderly people trying to ensure they could control their incontinence by not drinking anything, there would be a lot more clarity in their thinking.

I had a hard time convincing you because you didn’t want to see your own decline. So I gave up trying. It wasn’t important. I understood that many of your fears were from a natural aging process. I could simply agree with you that the dangers were there; try to allay them by telling you how we were prepared for them; remind you of the security we had built around us; reassure you that with five people living in the house, you had little need to fear house invasions, for instance.

You promised in your last days that you would continue to look after me. I sometimes wonder if you have become omniscient in your new state of existence. Do you know that I’m writing this post for all the world to see, if they care to do so? Do you know I am exposing the underbelly of our family life; the soft and private areas of our relationships; that I have vowed to honesty as I see it? Do you see now that I deceived you by omissions in your latter days to provide you with peace of mind? Tried not to lie, but did? Compassion, for me, has a higher value than honesty.

Je suis comme je suis. Je suis comme ca. (I am what I am. That’s what I’m like.) to quote Jacques Prevert, a modern French poet.

Have I clarified with myself why I am doing it? I don’t know.

I think perhaps, eventually, that it might inspire others to love their mothers even as they get difficult in their final years; to protect them with all the love and understand they can muster; and to let them know that for all I gave you to do that, I gained myself, in regaining your trust, in knowing you deeper and deeper for the fine human being that you are, and I wanted to share that with those who might listen, that they too, could find beauty and enjoy it.

Love you Mama.

I know you are still out there somewhere.

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2 Responses to “Dear Mother, we love you.”

  1. Livette Says:

    Nice blog!

  2. Alzheimer Says:

    Alzheimer

    Alzheimer

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