* My Journal * For some time, I have been at odds with myself when I make visits to see my mother in the Alzheimer's Unit of the nursing home. Wouldn't you think to see my mother having a "good day", (relatively speaking), that I would be pleased for that "good day"? You would think....but I am not. And wouldn't you also think I would be happy when one of the caretakers tells me of Mom's success with the latest "feeding". As the aide gives me this "good news", I find myself falling into an internal slump with disappointment. Whenever one of Mom's "helpers" approaches me in excitement with a "good" report, I seem to have to pretend that so called "good news" makes me "glad". Nope. As I smile at the aide with the "good news", inside I am not feeling glad. I am not feeling happy. A repeated feeling of discouragement that I can't control hits me. ...and hits me again and again.
Am I crazy....has the devil latched my heart!!? Maybe. Don't get me wrong. I haven't always felt this way. It seems to be another phase of this Alzheimer's journey. I just quietly think, every day Mom has a "good day", just prolongs the agony of living life in such a pathetic state that I see her live, day in and day out... turning into years.... a life....dare I say....not worth living. Yikes... I did say that! Let me pause...............this feels wrong... am I just being selfish, insensitive, cold?.... but again I can't seem to reverse my thoughts.
Only recently, my visits with Mom have been practically intolerable for myself. Mom, the victim of this disease, has gone through her own unpredictable stages of chaos. Many of which parallel my own emotions as a winding roller coaster turning upside down at times.
I have been a regular visitor to the John Knox Village Alzheimer's unit for over five years now. I have gotten to know many victims of this disease where my mother is in this place called "home". This disease can bring on numerous annoying habits and irksome behaviors with these unfortunate human beings. Mom has auditioned habits that are so disgusting, I can't even write about them. The latest that I CAN write about seems to be the hardest for me to bare but mentioning may sound only silly unless you were to witness this for yourself. The first time I became aware of this behavior, I did not know what "it" was. I kept hearing a very loud grinding screeching noise almost sounding like styrofoam twisting and breaking, worse than the sound of finger nails scratching down a chalkboard. The noise is heard all through the unit. Then the discovery.....this mysterious and disturbing turbulence is my mother grinding her teeth. OK....if you can handle ten sets of fingernails scratching down a chalkboard, and NOT stopping.... then....no big deal. As for myself, I can't even fathom toleration of this. I just want to get out of there. I sense a feeling of suffocation and I also feel like I'm losing my mind with intolerance. Then I think, if only it could be "over". There I go again...thinking bad and unrelenting thoughts. But is it bad? Is it wrong to wish my mother to move on to a better place? That seems justifiable....tell me I'm right? Even so, I do stand before the judge and declare myself "Guilty". I am guilty that I keep wishing for the end to come. Not that I am looking forward to it....of course not. I am guilty for finding myself growing with less and less inspiration to visit Mom in her state... and now that she has this new "tick" about her, I seem to simply dread it. I am guilty for not being grateful for Mom having a "good day" or eating a "good meal". Someday it will finally be over, and then crazy me will be yearning to hear her grinding teeth one more time.
I recently saw Robin Roberts being interviewed. She theorized, "No matter how old you are when you are going through a hard time, you still want your "mommy"."She is right. I truly believe I lost my mom many years ago to the horrible disease that has overtaken her life. There have been so many moments I have wanted my "mommy". But as I visit her, only a shell of her sole exists. Robin Roberts lost her Mom when she was to start her bone marrow treatments. What a painful time in life.
I can not overturn my feelings and my guilty verdict, but I do know I need to dwell and focus on the mother my mom will always be to me. What a blessing my mother has been. My mother, JoAnn Moll Bryan has been an amazing human being. One that is "oh" so kindhearted, loving, and generous. Her life has been simple and pure. How nice. She has always been loyal to helping others and being there when in need. Her life has never been about her... never never selfish, only generous. She has been a devoted mother, committed wife, and faithful friend to many. I do indeed miss my "mommy". However, her sweet demeanor still comes through now and then at the nursing home. That is good. She is very loved there. That is also good.
Dear Mom....I Love You....and God Bless You!!!
And guilty or not, that is simply a good thing.