The A-Word

You probably, like a lot of people, don’t know what to say. You don’t know what to say about the title of this random blog, My Demented Mom, or maybe you’re disgusted by how crude the title sounds… not sure what to tell you. What I can say is that my mom has dementia. Her docs say it’s likely a mix of multi-infarct dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, although they’re not sure about the Alzheimer’s part. Regardless, she is changing into someone I barley recognize.

What I do know is that this since learning of her “diagnosis,” my life has not been the same. Let’s face it, when you think something might be wrong with your parent, you hope it’ll go away and you can cope with life and go one. But when you learn that your parent has something so awful as dementia—and there is no cure, no stopping this disease in its track—you come face to face with the inevitable. She will inevitably get worse. She will inevitable forget who I am. While my mom is thankfully happy and very busy for a demented lady (she goes to adult day care and is incredibly active with her church), I am grief stricken.

I am 31 years old and I feel cheated.

I see so many mothers and daughters spending time together, time that at this age is more like a friendship between two women instead of just a mom/daughter relationship. I see them having lunch together, shopping together, and laughing together. I hate to say it, but I’m jealous—jealous that I can’t have that kind of relationship with my mom. Since her diagnosis, I’ve struggled to cope, balance my life as a writer in New York City with frequent trips to Arizona where my mom lives with my dad. My relationship is on the fence. I nearly said goodbye to my boyfriend for good and almost moved cross-country to be closer to her when I landed what seemed to be the perfect writing job (until the woman called me two weeks out to tell me so sorry). I am a broken record telling my friends the same thing over and over and over. I have no idea what I want or who I am and I am emotionally drained. I have no idea what to do most days and when I’m done pondering what I should do, I spend the rest of my time reminding myself what a horrible child I am to both my parents: should I be there? should I live my life? How can I be in two places at once? Who am I?

Thing is, I know I’m not alone. And so My Demented Mom is launched to help other young adult caregivers (near and far) cope with their own demented family member. My hope is that My Demented Mom will be a resource for others who are in this very big boat.

Kathy

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