“This is supposed to be the time of my life – the nest is empty; but now Mom needs me.”
Honestly? I never gave it any thought about caring for my mom. She’s always been so independent…. you know, she’s Mom. I wouldn’t say we are “close”, but we had a good relationship growing up. We would have our late night talks – she gave me advice, I told her I didn’t want her advice – the usual mother daughter stuff. I was much closer to my dad but he passed away many years ago and Mom has been on her own ever since.
So when that phone call came from security where my mom lived telling me that she was calling them frequently because of intruders in her house, the first thing I thought was “what has happened to her neighborhood?” Then the head of security told me there were no intruders in her house and I asked how he could be so sure. He said because the people Mom was hearing and seeing lived in her attic and floated around the house. Holy cow! What was going on? The word “dementia” came up a few times when I talked to the head of security – apparently he went through a similar situation with his dad.
Looking back I thought the signs of my mom ageing were few, but I realize now that there were many – I saw them, I just didn’t acknowledge them. When she stepped on the gas instead of the break and drove through the wall at her accountant’s office I did give it some thought, but her willingness to stop driving made me feel she had her wits about her, and she told me she knew what the problem was – it was the car’s fault! I chalked up the loss of memory and difficulty finding words to just getting older – it happens, but I have to admit that the floating people, hearing music, people living in her attic and the man dancing across the street at three in the morning were signs that something was really going on – we just didn’t know how to deal with it. The one thing we did know is that we had to get to Florida to figure things out, but with living 2500 miles away with a busy schedule it was not going to be easy.
What I Learned: Life really creeps up on you, and although scary at times, it’s good to be aware.