Tuesday, May 13, 2008

What's in a name anyway?

I think I've finally accepted the fact that Mama doesn't know who I am.
She knows I'm Lisa. Asks for Lisa, gets upset when Lisa leaves. But she really doesn't know who Lisa is.
Yesterday was my birthday. After I sat with Mama and Daddy while they ate supper, I walked with Mama to the living room to say good bye. She didn't want me to leave and started crying a little bit. I put my arms around her shoulders and made sure we were making eye contact so she could concentrate on what I was saying. I explained that it was my birthday and I was going home to have a birthday meal with my family. No response, no facial change, no "happy birthday!"
"Do you remember when I was born?" I asked her. "No," she answered. "Did you know I was your first baby?" See looked at me with a confused expression. She sort of laughed softly and responded again: "No."
I looked over at the sitter. "She has no idea I'm her daughter, does she?" She shook her head, agreeing with my assessment.
I didn't cry over this. It wasn't a big revelation.
Alzheimer's confuses so many things. Mama has no idea of relationships. No idea that Reggie is my husband, for instance, but she loves Reggie and asks for him by name.
Mama may not know I'm her firstborn child, but she knows I love her and that I'm going to look after her, and that's all that counts. Really. She knows when I come to see her that I'm bringing supper or the groceries or arms that wrap around her in a hug and hands that clasp hers as we walk. She knows she can count on me and trust me.
I tell her that often when she worries about nightfall approaching. She's scared for it to grow dark, sad that I'm going home to my husband and children. I reassure her that she will never be alone again, that she can trust me to do what's best for her and Daddy. She nods and assures me she's doing the best she can, too.
Who can ask for anything more?

1 comment:

  1. Lisa, I've not been able to get this post out of my mind, even though it's been almost 2 weeks since I first read it.
    My situation was different....my mother's mind was clear up until the moment she died.....just 5 months ago, but I did have to stand by and watch as her body failed her in several ways, and I was able to do nothing to change things. I know your frustration and pain.
    My heart goes out to you....you're too young to have to give up your mother as you've always known her.
    But you can be proud of what you're doing for her....it will give you great comfort one day, I promise!