My mother has Alzheimer's.
I know. Isn't that terribly sad. So painful for the family. What a horrible disease. Blah, blah, blah.
As a child, I was terrified that my mother would die. I worried about it daily. Now, most days I wish she would die. She was always very proper; she would find her current state most undignified.
But, yes. It is sad. My mother was bright--very bright--I even considered her an intellectual. She was a voracious reader, and nothing delighted her more than a rollicking debate on religion, politics, or whatever.
Now she's been reduced to a child-like state. I see her sitting at the kitchen table; she is adamant about having her pen and paper; and she scribbles notes all day long--being very careful with her penmanship, much like a five year old--and writes tiny notes about who she loves, and who she misses.
I guess that's what it really comes down to in the end, doesn't it?
Whom you love, and whom you miss.
I miss her.
Her capacity to love me hasn't changed a whit. And it fascinates me to see what else hasn't changed. Her humor is unchanged. She both makes jokes and understands them. I always thought humor was connected to your intellectual capabilities, but I no longer think so.
What has happened is, she's been reduced to her true essence. She's been boiled down to who she really was all along.
After spending time with her, I notice how people spend a lot of time hiding their true essence. They put forth a facade to the world; and for some reason struggle to cover up who they really are; their true essence; and their tender underbelly.
My mother now is sweet, polite, and funny. She was always that.
But she's also plagued by constant fear and anxiety.
She was always that too.
She just did a damn good job of covering it up.
My mother took a lot of valium. That helped calm her anxiety. She never really dealt with the cause of her anxiety and fear. She never just took it out, put it under a bright light, and faced it.
Instead, she spent her energy trying to forget. Trying to forget the past that hurt her. She tried to bury it. She kept shoveling the dirt of obscurity on top of her spirit.
Maybe she finally succeeded.
They say, "Be careful of what you wish for."
A fairy godmother came down, and granted my mother her one wish. "Help me forget what hurts me," she whispered. And her wish was granted.
If only forgetting finally brought her peace.