In the spirit of Doing This Right, I need to leave some sadness on these pages tonight. I know my instinct is to only see the positives and sometimes, not truly SEE some realities. Yes, my Rose Colored Glasses are quite finely tuned. But I also know that in order to fulfill the role that I need to fulfill for my parents, that I also need to completely see and acknowledge what is happening.
My dad has clear signs of dementia. And it killed me today to not only see it in action, but also see HIM struggle with KNOWING it is happening. This is man whose mind has always been super sharp. He took pride in his memory, both short and long and it was quite good! I take after him in so many ways but I never had the clear recall he did. OTOH, like him when I DO remember, I am 100% SURE (so do not bother arguing with me!)
We are lucky – both my parents have been super healthy up until age 79. At that age he had his first heart procedure after a few small incidents with his heart. A second episode a few years later followed. No surgery, but a quite clean up was needed. At that point though the doctors confirmed that his heart function will always be diminished – particularly blood flow to the brain. He’s 85 now, going to be 86 in July and over the last year it’s been more evident that the mind was starting to slip.
Back to today….I took the boys up to spend the day since Alex is in town and I took the time to sit with him to fill out some paperwork to file a back wages owed claim against the last company he worked for (part time until about a year ago). He had filled out the form perfectly up to the point of putting in the dates for the back wages owed, but that was fine since he sent me all that information even as it was happening so I had the dates and the dollar amounts with me. It shouldn’t have been a problem, but he was so ADAMANT that the last paycheck he received was in October 2013. But, it was really October 2012. No matter how many ways I confirmed that year, he was so insistent on 2013. Then we found the last pay stub he had – 2012. So , he relented, but then was clearly upset that he had it wrong. Thankfully, I noticed that right on top of his very perfectly kept file folder on this whole topic was an email that he and I exchanged…..in October of 2013! I told him – this is why it stuck in your head because every time you flip open this folder, you see this date and of course it stuck in your head. He seemed to accept that and we got it all done.
Later he came to me to “confess” that he knew his mind wasn’t what it was. I could tell it hurt him to say it so I did my best to be reassuring about it without blowing smoke though. I asked him if he wants me to sit with him to do his tax return and he said yes, it would make him feel better so I’ll do that on the weekend.
Mom is amazing. Super capable and always thinking one step ahead right now. And figuring out how to ask for help herself. In some ways she’s in her element – nurturing is her thing. But I also know she’s going to need breaks and to not forget how to care for herself. So I will be more mindful about paying attention to what I can do (like the taxes and this payroll issue) to alleviate tasks from her load.
So yeah, this sucks. Yes, I knew the day would come when my parents would age to the point of needing help. I am grateful they stayed healthy for so long so that I am no longer a full time mom to my boys and can put forth more energy towards them. I know that the dynamics between us will change.
Ready or not, eh? So dear soul, we need to get ready. Keep me focused on creating abundance for all of us and on communicating in the most effective and loving ways possible.