Bad Thoughts. By a Bad Daughter

My Demented Mom

I’m going say what you’re not supposed to say……………………………………

I’m counting down the years until my mom dies…………………….

Let’s see. It’s been about about 5 years since I first noticed something was horribly wrong. 4 years since her “official” diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease…. which turned out to be Vascular Dementia, or maybe it’s both—mixed dementia No one really knows. Most of her doctors don’t really seem to care, it seems. Probably have another 4 or 5 to go based on what I’ve read and the stage she seems to be at. Yeah, I can deal with 5 years.

6 might send me over the edge.

But 5 is a pill I can swallow.

4 would be a blessing.

3… there is a God.

2… there is a God who likes me.

That is my inside voice convincing me that it’s OK….. that I will be OK….. that I can cope with this and keep on going. You see, there will be a time when “normal” returns and the hurt and frustration that I feel almost daily will come to an end.

There is a light at the end of the tunnel. It may be very far off, but it’s there.

KATs BRAIN…….. Welcome. That is how I rationalize this ordeal….. and now that you understand that, that I am merely trying to protect me from everything going on around me, you might not think me so foul a daughter……………………..

………………………………that if you were in my position, you might pray for her death.

(Or you could say I should embrace each moment and step into her shoes, into her world, whilst at the same time smiling and dancing with her as she tumbles down the demented rabbit hole. Ah, the simple joys of dementia.)

Alas, I am a realist. And I see firsthand the toll her disease has on the people around her. Her disease is devastating. I not only worry about my dad’s stress level, his physical health and mental deterioration, but I wonder how much her dementia impacts me…. subtly, chipping away at me.

Here’s what I know…. I am in a constant state of worry. I just worry. I can’t help it, nor can I stop it. I worry about her. I worry about dad. I worry about my cats. I worry. I worry every time I plan a vacation that my plane will crash and my dad will not be able to cope with mom alone. I worry that I will be killed on the way to work, again leaving dad alone to deal. I worry that I’ll develop cancer at 33, only to die (again) and leave dad to fly solo, with mom constantly calling my ghost……….. This number has been disconnected.

Hola, mijita Kathy. I luf you, yo so tu papi. Tu eres mi esposo. Tu saliste de mi. Que dios te bendiga.

To not worry is to be outside of my comfort zone.

So, yes. I do sometimes find myself asking God to take my mother to heaven. To free us of this woman who is neither my mom, nor my dad’s wife. She looks like the woman we once knew………………………….. but Margarita is not there.

She is being eaten alive from within by a parasite so insidious, so nefarious, it doesn’t just take out its host, it takes out entire families.

>>Flickr image from Pareeerica


  1. Hi Kat,
    Thank you for being so honest. You and your family are in my prayers. I don’t speak Spanish and am wondering what your Mom says on the phone. Try not to worry about your own death as often. I think we all think those things but try not to worry so much.

    Thinking of you

  2. I love your site. I just got back from visiting my mom in a nursing home in Canada. (my brother lives there) I go every 3 months for 10 days. My mom also has dementia, and I notice everytime I go how much more her brain has withered away. I, like you, look for the light at the end of the tunnel, and hope it comes sooner rather than later. She is angry and confused, and cusses, and hits..its not fun to watch, but I do, and I go, and I get a lump in my throat when I leave that takes a long time to go away. Fonday, Carolyn

  3. I am the FTD patient and believe that extending the late stage “life” of someone with this disease through chemical means, familial guilt, or due to the oftentimes apathetic SOPs of the health care system, is sadly misguided and only adds more anguish to every single soul involved in the distressing care of the FTD victim (and maybe to the patient herself, for whom some form of self-awareness may torment her to the end.) Our fate is likely to become virtual monsters whose final breaths may bring overwhelming relief to the caregivers who will no longer have to endure our emotiional, physical, and spiritual abuse. Now, while I still have a window, I beg forgiveness from mine for past, current, and future symptoms and behaviors that you will bear. And from my heart, if your heart comes to know when it is time, please help me.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s