Go to Jail. The Game of Dementia

I’ve been thinking a lot about Amanda Knox (yes, the Foxy Knoxy)…. the American student who was imprisoned for some four years in Italy…. I’ve been thinking about her because much has been written about her ordeal, what she went through day in and day out, her routines, her rituals, the things she did each and every day so she could survive, so she could stay sane……………… her “suffering” got me thinking about the prison my own family lives in.

Allow me to insert my own disclaimer here…………….. No, I can’t relate to Amanda Knox or her trials and tribulations, that’s not the point of this blog post… k?

My mom, or what’s left of my mom’s gray matter, is trapped……….. locked away and no one can reach her……………… But what scares me, what is truly a revolting thought, is the idea that there might be a glimmer of her screaming for help.

To hear her.

To save her.

We know so little about dementia…………… words like, “a fog” are used to describe the state of the demented mind, but what if we’re wrong? Way wrong. What if she’s lost, trapped, unable to find the word, to reach out and tell us that she’s still here?

And then there’s my dad. My dad is in a different kind of prison. His prison is both physical………. he lives at home with her and he stays there, mostly 24/7………. and emotional………… he struggles to cope. My dad is angry. To be painfully blunt. He’s bitter, resentful, angry and he has a nasty habit of going back in time to relive all of the woulda’s, coulda’s and shoulda’s of his life. A dangerous (and addictive) game to play…….. I’ve never seen my dad like this, and it’s taken a toll — on him….. and on me…….. I mean, let’s face it………… the obvious coulda is their marriage…………. had he not married my mom, he coulda had a different life. Had I not been a factor, he woulda had options………… my parents marriage was hardly perfect; not the model example of wedded bliss…………….. I knew that VERY early on.

I remember wishing that they would get a divorce because I hated the fighting, the yelling………………. I would take long walks when they would argue and just sit in a park by my house — we lived in a mountain town in New Mexico and the silence was always welcome……………. to this day, I hate really loud noise………… loud music, loud people……….. I just want to savor the stillness, the hush………………..

Unfortunately, when coping with one parent who is deathly sick and the other who is struggling to stay afloat (he flails so much, I worry he could take me down with him) …………it puts me in a position whereby I’m trying to save everyone…….. trying to keep the peace, trying to play the therapist when I’m the daughter………… trying to make sure needs are met, trying to make sure life feels normal (I know, believe me)…….. trying to do what I can so the quiet stays for as long as possible…

I love my mother and my father……… I miss them, and yet, they hardly know me………. well, he hardly knows me………. still, they’re all I have in terms of my family of origin; and sometimes, when I sit back and think about how this grotesque disease is slowly decimating my family, I can’t see past the moment……….. I can’t look into my future…………. it’s black. There’s nothing.

It’s a frightening thought, but then not really because it’s my reality……….. my own prison.

If that makes sense.

>>Flickr pic by Funky 64…www.lucarossato.com 

5 Comments

  1. First of all, I’ve never heard of Foxy Knoxy…too funny Kathy. I didn’t follow the trial much but am interested in your final thoughts about it. You have a lot of pressure Kathy and I hope you have a counselor to confide in. Do you make time for yoga or some other practice where you can find some peace and quiet? Does your Dad know you have a blog and does he read it? What is the latest on placing your Mom in a care facility?

  2. thx kathi… i do take time. its a lot to process but i try to take the time for me. dad knows i blog. i dont know if he reads it. we are waiting on final confirmation re medicaid. once we get the ok, we will start the placement process, which i think will be the best thing for all of us.

  3. I’m so glad your back to writing. I could understand when you said you didn’t feel like it anymore – sometimes you feel like you talk about things too much and bring the people around you down (that’s at least how I feel at times), but I think it’s good for you to share your thoughts. There are a ton of us like you out their and your words give us hope that we are not alone and our feelings are valid and not crazy. It’s an odd way to live, but reality – as much as it sucks.

  4. My mother has dementia also and I can relate to what you’re saying. I also often wonder what mom is thinking, does she know what is really happening to her, is she struggling to break free of that fog. It is such a horrible disease and it does affect the entire family. I wish you and your family the best.

Leave a Reply

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

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com 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 )

Google+ photo

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

Connecting to %s