I don’t know if I’m a good daughter…. My two cousins and aunt (mom’s sister and her two nephews) blasted me a few months ago because of the name of the blog… My DEMENTED Mom. The word demented when translated into Spanish is apparently a not very kind word. I can’t say much about that. I didn’t know it was a wretched word in Spanish.
Alas, my mother tongue is English, the blog is in English and according to Merriam-Webster, DEMENTED has two meanings:
1. mad, insane
2. suffering from or exhibiting cognitive dementia
My mother fits both definitions quite nicely. The assault on my use of the word was so incredibly hurtful. They attacked me, the blog and from my point of view, my role as her daughter. I felt like such a horrible person, a rancid daughter, clumsy, baroquely grotesque, wretched and positively cheap……………..I knew it was a strong word……. but the name of my blog was never meant to disparage my mom or her memory………. she is demented. She is sometimes mad. She does suffer from cognitive dementia.
I love my mom.
I miss my mom.
This morning I woke up wishing that I had started wearing a purse when I was younger—when she told me too. Silly, random pre-dawn, pre-caffeinated thought. She used to tell me that I should wear a purse. That a girl my age should wear purse. I hated purses then (love ’em now), but I wish I just did what she wanted me to do. It would have made her happy.
I no longer have any relationship with these individuals—there’s no point. That and I’m stubborn but mostly I don’t think there is a reason to resume relations with people who just don’t get it. Who never will. I don’t know if I’m sad about that…… maybe more disappointed…………. but for me, family goes beyond blood lines. Natalie.
And of course, my Jon.
I talked to Sandra Gonzalez at the Alzheimer’s Associate Desert Southwest Chapter. My mom hates baths. Sandra was sharing some tips for making bath time a little easier…. Play soothing music. Prepare her bath before she gets near the bathroom (apparently the noise may be amplified for those suffering from dementia). My mom screams. She yells, PORQUE ME PONES? PORQUE ME PONES?
That’s dementia for, WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS TO ME? YOU KNOW I HATE WATER. PUT MY CLOTHES BACK ON. I SWEAR TO GOD IF YOU PUT ME IN THE WATER I’M GOING TO SCREAM. YOU’RE REALLY PISSING ME OFF.
We also talked about communication…………. communicating with my mom, understanding her and talking to her in her own language. My mom has less than a handful of phrases that she uses and repeats over and over….. I use the same phrases to talk to her.
Oddly, she understands me. No idea what she thinks I’m saying, but she responds….. in her own demented language. I am in her world. Every time I visit my mom, I step into her world, I engage her……….. I “allow” her to shop lift………. I listen to her. I paint her nails hot pink. I clip her finger and toe nails. I dress her sometimes—something I actually like to do……. granted she ended up with a pair of Converse One Stars, but she likes them and I own the same pair (I like it when we match…………… it’s my thing).
Tomorrow, March 25, is my mom’s birthday. She’ll be 73.
I remember when I found and “liked” your site, and it posted this on my facebook “Carolyn is a fan of My Demented Mom” All my workmates were like “whaaattt” when they saw it come up as a posting on their site, my daughter posted “nice mom” in a comment when she saw it…….they all know I loved my mom, I cherished my mom, I miss my mom, but my mom and her dementia drove me crazy, she pissed me off, she made me mad, she made me laugh, she made me cry, she was My Demented Mom and I miss her so much since she passed the beginning of the year, I am so thankful the pain is over for her. Thank you so much for this site, I relate to EVERYTHING you say, and unless you have a family member with this horrific disease, you just don’t get it. I am a big fan of yours, you are an amazing daughter, I can tell by your writings.
You are so much sweeter than me. I am so at sea with my mother. It is a little like watching something beautiful be destroyed and part of that beautiful thing is yourself.
Know that I am thinking of you. Your site is wonderful. Ignore your meddling relatives who aren’t there to help you care for your mom. I am going through the same situation. My mom cusses like a sailor and is in a clothing optional mindset. Go figure. This journey is anything but easy – but I am able to laugh.
I just found your site because I did a google search including the words “my demented mom”. I’ve only started reading, but I’m grateful you’re here. Thank you for naming it what you did.
Dear Kath. Take it from me, native spanish speaker, the word “demented” in spanish, “demente” is no more harsh than it is in english, you just stumbled into the midset of some people who rather deny, than cope and manage situations in the best posible way acknowledging them for what they really are and what they really require.
Being a care giver of some one who is no longer in their right mind is draining, whether it´s dementia or some other terminal illness that has taken away there minds, due to medication, chemo and radiation.
Family is love, is caring, is understandig.
It´s above all, feeling safe with that person whom you call family, knowing that they´ll never mean you harm and that they´ll give you the benefit of doubt in every situation BEFORE judging you harshly.
You know as well as I, that people disapear when sickness apears, and as a care giver you are left alone, to give care. Blood family generally disapears, and if they don´t phisically disapear, as this is the case, they disapear emotionally. You, and your mom, are better off disapearing them. You have enough on your plate as it is, nobody will take care of you, if you don´t take care of yourself, if you are not well, you can not care for others.
You know I lost my mom mentally when I was 26, and physically when I was 28. She got sick when I was 22. I didn´t get a chance to VIEW my mother HEALTHY from an adult point of view. I became an adult because she got sick, and then she was no longer my mother, but my sick mother, and me her caretaker, taking away her car keys, coaxing her to eat, making her take her meds…
I found myself many a time like you, wondering, what might have been…
what would our relationship have been like? How would she have influenced me? not to mention my little sister, she really got delt a foul one, she was 13 when she got sick, 18 when she died.
When she was gone, and this was what I was trying to get at, a very import part of my “coping” with her death was seeking out her lifelong friends, who had “vanished into thin air” when she got sick, (except the ocational pop in to criticize my caregiving ways), and remembering to have pity on them because they weren´t strong enough to be there for her, ASK THEM what my mom was like before she got sick, as an adult, and from an adult point of view.
I had hundreds of those talks, with almost a dozen of her friends, and I understood so much of what she was about, of how she raised me. I glimpsed what life would of been like with her in the picture, the good and the bad.
I feel for you Kath, I´m sorry I´m not more present in your life.
I truly believe if we were to see each other we would pick up right where we left it 14 years ago.
I admire you.
take care of yourself.