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January 3, 2013

During the last several months, I have continued to journal and write about my visits with my mother, even if I haven’t kept up with the posting.  I intend to work at getting them posted now, so you can catch up with our lives.  I am not sure if I should start with the oldest and bring them forward, or start with the most recent and work backwards.  Of course, I could jump around and pick and choose as I feel the spirit moves me, which is very much how the world of dementia works.  Sporadic,  unexpected, and unplanned.  I believe that is probably the most fitting course for this roller coaster ride!  

The following entry was originally written November 28, 2012

For well over a year now, I have quite often thought my mother reminded me of a little bird.  First of all she has a bit of Native American Indian heritage in her, which gives her the long chiseled nose and slightly pointed chin, but her  complexion is very, very pale, not anywhere near a bronzed color. Since she has refused to wear her dentures in over a year, she has lost the fullness of her lips and cheeks, which now  makes her chin and nose even more predominate. Together they are  almost beak-like. When she is talking, laughing, or babbling, her tongue has a way of wiggling about. Like a little bird searching for the anticipated worm.

At shower time, when there are three nurses trying to bathe her without getting injured from her swinging arms, and her attempted punches to get them to stop.  She is constantly screaming, “You’re killing me!” She is also squawking and squealing at the top of her lungs like an injured, dying bird.

Last week, she quit feeding herself, which is a natural progression of the disease, so I was not surprised when I learned that they were now spoon-feeding her.  Today however, I was there at snack time, and the coaxing was delegated to me.  I might add, she did not take well, to me being the one to feed her.

First the cups of cranberry juice were passed out. Mom picked up the cup, and wobbled a bit with getting it to her mouth.  I reached over to help and her hand quickly and abruptly brushed me away.We both had cranberry juice all over both of us, but she continued on with her mission.  She held the cup near her mouth and stuck her tongue down into the cup and slurped up as much juice as she could on her tongue, and then swallowed the small bit. While watching her, I thought of the little hummingbird sucking the nectar from the feeders that I keep on my porch.  This continued until mom had managed to drink it all down.  She didn’t drink the juice in the same way that most of us would have, but her way worked for her.

Next they passed out little paper cups of ice cream with the spoon stabbed into the middle of the cup.  She first attempted to suck the end of the spoon as if it were a straw. I removed the spoon and offered her the ice cream that was in the spoon, which she took.  The second bite that I offered was refused, with the very direct and understandable words of, “I don’t need you, I can do it.” She went to work on the ice cream just as she did with the juice.  Her little tongue was getting quite the workout, scooping up that ice cream out of the cup.

My little bird is a survivor! She is a resourceful, and very independent woman, quite capable of feeding herself, in her own way.  She has proven once again that she can do things without my help. I have to keep reminding myself, that even though the dementia has robbed me of the mother that I once knew, she still has the ability to figure out some problem solving on her own.   Once again, she is trying to prove to me, that she does not need me as much as I want her to need me.

  1. Dear heart, your natural writing, communicating ability is a great gift to us all. And your love inspires me. Maybe God has you getting me ready for my turn. 🙂

    • You my dear friend, have always been so supportive of my efforts. The one thing that I have learned, is that I am not doing this alone. I know that I have a higher power helping me to choose the right words. In fact there are times I sit back and am myself surprised, and wonder just where those words came from. If my words can help others in any way, then I feel I am accomplishing the mission that was given to me. I wish you strength in your own journey.

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