Round 2: Dementia 10, Peace of mind 0

Mom’s dementia is progressing. Or would that be regressing? Since she is reverting to an earlier less-advanced state of mind.

The slipping away from herself is a most uncomfortable leaving.  Her mind cannot relax because she is still partly aware of ground lost. And Mom is afraid of the emptiness dementia is forcing upon her.

“I’m goofy. I’ve lost my mind.” She tells me.

“Relax” I tell her, “You’re only losing part of it.”

It makes her laugh. For a moment. Until the words are sucked into the darkness where her memory once lived.

How much am I my mother’s daughter? If I develop this disease, will I feel fear? Will I live in a worried state of mind like her?  Or will my practice of meditation, of being comfortable in the nothing, stay with me?

I don’t know. I’ll worry about it if dementia decides to live in my brain. Right now my goal is to walk with Mom until death takes all of her. And I will.

So what has dementia taught me?

That frustration is the result of rigid thinking; expecting things to go a certain way. Dementia has no certain way. Just when you figure out a pattern —POOF— it’s gone.

And

That I have not learned nearly the patience I thought I had. I find my thoughts edged in ugly because of my impatience at Mom’s endless cycle of repeated questions.

What else have I learned?

That anger really is the growth of fear. Fear that I can’t be enough. Fear that I’ll not have the strength when it’s needed most. Fear that I will come to hate the dementia that is her.

And

That each person’s dementia is his or her own little hell. And while there is general knowledge of the disease, labeling it is like trying to put the squeeze on liquid mercury.

So that’s where my brain has been hanging out this week—In some ugly little old black hole. . .only it’s been my choice.

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