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Posts Tagged ‘mother daughter relationships’

FredMomDogsShe laughed. I can’t believe she actually laughed.

Getting my mom to laugh before her various illnesses and progressing state of vascular dementia was challenging. How odd. Now, she laughs more.

What a gift. Even if it is only once and a while, it is a gift.

Just for a moment her dark house with curtains on every window, lit up.

The other day I was helping her change her socks and shoes, or maybe I was putting on her comfy white slippers?? I don’t remember. Because of her congestive heart failure, sometimes her feet swell up. I looked at her feet and said to her in a straight voice, “your toes look like little cocktail party sausages!’

Well, she howled. Tears, snot, and drool streamed from her face. I was delighted.

This is something that I probably never would have said to her in the past. Maybe because the tone in her house was always so serious and a bit depressing. Or maybe because I never helped her put her shoes on before.

To me it seems that the little bit of dementia that has set in has created a sort of “giddy forgetfulness” in her — as if she has always just had one glass of wine. It appears that she is happier now that she can’t think, or should I say over-think, so much.

I bet we all could use a bit this type of forgetfulness. It seems her illness has brought her more into the present moment.

Who would have thunk it? Dementia = yoga.

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stefportait2Maybe you’re thinking, what the does that title mean. Where is she going with this one? Some of you may already know exactly where it’s going.

Well, it is a long, long standing tradition that my mother must comment on my hair, for some reason, every time I see her. Even yesterday, after 3 weeks in her hospital bed, in and out of states of delirium and dementia. I hoped that maybe this time the goodnight-goodbye “I love you” could just have ended at that…sweet and silent. But noooooo. It STILL had to be followed by a comment about my hair.

By the way, I happen to LIKE my hair. Well, sometimes.

A month ago at my only uncle’s funeral service she just couldn’t help but toss a comment. There I was, feeling a little prettier than usual, and dressed up for the occasion. Hell, even my long lost cousins said I looked great (at 48 this feels like a nice compliment). Mom turned to look at me. I thought she was going to blurt out something special, deep, or touching. After all, we were at a funeral. She just uttered, “You need to condition your hair.”

I know intellectually that it’s coming from her love for me, but it never FEELS that way when it happens. I feel like a Barbie doll.

Yes, I admit it. The button is still there to be pushed. There is yet more work to do on my part.

This last time in the hospital I asked more though. I am actually becoming more intrigued by the phenomenon. It may seem like a small thing to you, but it was good for me to become inquisitive, and not just react. “Why are you still so obsessed about my hair?” I asked her. “I remember how it used to be.” She replied. “But I am almost 50 years old now!” my voice a little too loud for a rehab nursing home. I left the hospital, still mystified by her constant focus on my hair.

So, I wonder what today’s humid, NJ weather will do for my hair. I’m going to the hospital to see her. Let’s see what she has to say!

If you have had similar experiences, please feel free to post a comment. It is so fascinating, isn’t it?

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