Blog for my Mother on her Birthday 5/15/2023 – And her move to Memory Care
My mother’s birthday and Mother’s day often coincide. And this one has been transformational to say the least. On Monday the, 15th, is her birthday and this year Mother’s Day was on the 14th. I sent some beautiful flowers for her and she was deeply touched and appreciative as all mothers should be. But on her birthday, we are moving her to Memory Care because of the rapid progression of her dementia, her continued falling, and hallucinations.
This birthday is a big one for all the obvious reasons. And up till yesterday she was excited and ready to leap. However, my mother has never made any changes easily. Perhaps is the nature of just being a Taurus. The core Taurus issue is to let go. And at this stage of life, that seems to be the big one and there is nothing as big as learning to let go of one’s old life and reality.
I am so very grateful, that at the place mother is, they have the systems in place to know how to speak to her and support her in making the choice to shift towards more care. As it has been for the last two weeks, we have needed significantly more levels of care and those around her constantly. It will be a relief to have her safe and sound in a place that will allow her to have more eyes on her at all times.
I tried to limit the grandchildren calling her this weekend because I did not want any miscommunications to trigger her to backstep and cause more emotional upset. Some are coming out next weekend because by then she should be in and set up.
I recognize that all of us will go through this process with family members at various times. I am grateful that we have these systems in place to help those that are dealing with such things. Often, a more objective outsider can navigate things better than family because they do not carry the old emotional triggers that have been built up from years of challenges.
The team at TouchMark deserve a gold star in my book. They have been forthright, honest, clear, calm, supportive, and skilled at knowing how to work with the elderly. Everyone in my book should have a significant raise. And I told the company just that last week.
I have always been very good at dealing with my mother as I have walked through six nervous breakdowns with her and multiple suicide patterns throughout my life. I am really good at knowing how to manage her anxiety, fear, resistance, and anger.
This is the first place that does it the way that makes sense and that works for her. And they have marveled at how I can talk to mom once on the phone and shift her out of fear within 5 minutes.
All I can say is that I have had lots of practice.
While I was in Spokane for 6 weeks starting in February, I was actively watching my mother fail in front of my eyes rapidly.
Now, it continues, and it is like watching a sweater unraveling. What once was, is no longer. Things that mattered before, begin to be forgotten. This moment becomes all-consuming to her.
She has had a REM sleep disorder her whole life. It was undiagnosed until she was about 70 years old.
What that means is that she seems awake when she is asleep. Her eyes are open, and she actively is engaged in situations that to her seem very real because she is really dreaming. It takes a certain type of process for her to be woken up without her thrashing and thinking someone is attacking her.
In her 70’s a doctor did a sleep study on her and discovered that she had this condition, and it causes her to not really rest at night. So, she is on medication to keep her asleep. But the risk of Parkinson’s was high and also dementia as she aged.
After she was properly diagnosed and medicated, most of her depression and anxiety went away for the first time ever in her life.
It was such a relief to see her not depressed!
But now, things have accelerated, and she believes there is a bear in her room that is blocking her escape. I try to tell her that perhaps the bear is a protector and trying to help her rather than harm her. I tell her that now that she is moving to this other section, it is possible that the nurses and staff in this other section will be able to get the bear out of the room.
She seems to have one foot in this reality but most of her is now leaning into another.
I want for her to have a transition that is graceful, smooth, peaceful and allows for acceptance and clarity.
When I look at her life, I know this incarnation was a difficult one. I know that her parents were atrocious and abusive. I know that she lived in fear most of this life. And yet, somehow my mother’s innate sweetness never left her. On many levels she was a frozen child self. Innocent and gentle, kind and giving, but she never really knew how to engage with the external world without a lot of fear.
I am grateful to my father who deeply loved her and knew that she was emotionally unstable. He was her center. He was her protector and kept her grounded.
When he died, it left a hole inside her that has never filled. She married him when she was 20 years old and spend 50 years with him. He has been gone since 2007 and considering everything she has done, she did really well till the last few years.
I hope that we can expand services for the elderly in my generation. I hope that we can create everyone who needs such services to have access to them regardless of their financial bracket.
If you have a moment today, send good energy and prayers to all those in such moments and places of transition. We should be able to allow graceful and peaceful transitions for all those in the dying process.
May all who seek to leave this life, find an easy door through which to walk and may they see those they love on the other side of that warmly welcome them into that other existence.