My mother has dementia . She hasn’t as yet been officially diagnosed , but I am pretty certain that she has. My father who died nearly 10 years ago now , also had dementia. So this disease has kidnapped both my parents.
My father never got to the stage where he didn’t recognise me. He had other health complications which were impacted by the dementia. But he did get that vacant look , where you could tell he had been far away and the seconds that passed brought him back to the now. My mother however is a different kettle of fish. She has recognised that she is deteriorating for a long time now. She prattles on about all old people having everyday memory loss but she’s not a fool and she gets comfort out of keeping the inevitability of acceptance at bay for now. She awaits her brain scan results. So she makes great attempts to hide her issues. This I think causes her to be intensely anxious, resentful , afraid and a bit of a mess to be honest. She has always been a relentlessly independent woman , always on the go but she’s a lot more fragile these days. If we didn’t live together I would have a lot more compassion , but I just find it damn difficult. That transition that most children will have to take , where you become the parent to your parent. But when your new ‘ child ‘ is almost as obnoxious and tiresome as your rude 16 year old, albeit a bit more helpful around the house , it can get you down.
Now , it may seem to some that I am callous. Perhaps I am . When she goes , I will no doubt mourn my inability to be consistently patient and kind – I will mourn how I resented her decline ; that alongside 2 tricky teenagers, I gained another being who depends on me at a time when I am feeling seriously caged in.