The recent trip to another state within the US included many miles driven and viewing a possible new location to live. My post ‘Road Surface Markings’ includes information about this recent trip and my post ‘My Mother In-Law Teacher’ includes information about my partner’s mother. This most recent trip also involved spending some time with my partner’s family including his mother, my unofficial mother in-law. During our trip my partner’s mother had to be admitted to the hospital due to some abnormal results from routine blood tests. My unofficial mother in-law struggles with dementia and while she was in the hospital we went to visit her and it I became emotional to see her there.
As each day comes and goes, so does her ability to remember the previous days and current day events and happenings. The hospital visit starts with an angry 92 year old woman, a mother who does not remember why she is there. Who are these people around her asking questions, poking needles in her and wanting to take tests? “Why am I here” she asks? “I want to go home and die!” “These people are mean to me and I deserve to be treated with respect.” The anger grows as she starts crying not just because she is unable to remember why she is there surrounded by strangers but I believe also she is crying because she knows she is unable to control her behavior and because of the short term memory loss her brain is cruelly providing her.
I hold back the tears in the hospital room while she is struggling to understand the current situation, why she is there and wanting to go home to die. The tears I am holding back are not just from feeling sorrow for her but for a certain understanding of her and what she is going through. The tears I am holding back remind me of a time when my brain seemed to control my thoughts, my actions and during times of feeling sane caused confusion as to why I am unable to control myself. For her in that hospital room, I am unable to provide help and to only watch her go through her rounds of saneness and then confusion and struggles with her memory. She had to be sedated and during the time of calmness along with her sons I was able to provide some comfort and support and love.
Time will uncover the future of what is to come and the support, comfort and love will continue to be provided to her. I will hold back the tears in my eyes for now because she is still here living and struggling and surviving. She is a special lady with a life full of history and memories of long ago. And though the loss of her short term memory is increasing resulting in frustration and confusion she will be cared for by one son who she currently lives with. As long as she is with us; I will continue to hold back the tears in my eyes.