I'm grateful that I am in a place where I can care for my Mom as her mind and health decline. There were a lot of variables in our lives that would have potentially made this impossible, but oddly, Babygirl's illness made us make the choices that left us room for Mom in this difficult time in her life.
Caring for a parent with dementia has many, many challenges. It's worse than handling a toddler in many ways. I've talked with my friends who are walking the same road and we all have similar challenges.
It's frustrating, really really frustrating, to answer the same question over and over and over. Generally I try to answer it each time as if it were the first time she asked - after all, in her mind, it IS the first time she asked. Each. And. Every. Time.
It saddens me to see her not notice or care about the clutter that collects around her. When my Dad and Aunt were staying here, the counter could get knee-deep in toast crumbs, the floor waist-high in newspaper, and the table have an even coating of used coffee cups and not one of them would pay the slightest attention.
And it amazes me that all but my Aunt seemed to regard the shower as some ancient form of torture.
Most of all, I miss the Mom I had even as recently as 4 years ago. The one who was quick-witted, humorous, busy. The Cool Mom who never said 'no' to a sleepover or a camping trip. The Den Mother, the church secretary, the Mastermind of Christmas.
Yeah. I miss her.
But despite all of that, I AM grateful to care for her. Grateful that we can do it financially. Grateful that we have the room both in our home and in our schedules (usually!) to do what needs to be done. She dealt with me from birth to college, and I'm sure it was a face-smacking ride. I'm glad I can pay it back.