Dementia - learning as we go

June 19, 2012

It seems the kids and I do a lot together, but to get Joel away from the business doesn't happen quite as often. While he has gotten better about taking vacations, he still doesn't like to take too much time away from work. This year we took my mom with us to Hilton Head, and with her ailing memory, it too became a struggle for us at times. I'm not sure how many more trips we will be able to take her with us and still call a vacation?

There were good times too, and I guess those are the days I need to document, because soon the bad ones will consume more time than the good.

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While this picture captured a good moment in the end, the beginning wasn't as pretty as she cried when I told her she couldn't pay and pouted while we all got ours done. Even here she still has her wallet in her hand after several discussions on paying. We figured out by the end of the trip we should have just let her pay and put the money back in her account later.  I guess you could say we are learning as we go.

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This character sketch brought back some humor to the night as they captured Joel in such a comical likeness that we couldn't help to laugh each time we looked at it!

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There were times at family meals when we would all be laughing and joking and I would look to her and realize even though she was sitting right next to me, she wasn't there...those were the moments when I wanted to cry, but then I figured my poor husband would have another female crying and not know what to do...so I held it in.  Even bringing her sweater to the beach became a struggle I soon realized that didn't matter, what harm could there be if she wanted to carry it around?

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Catching her working on her art was a pleasant experience. Something we have been trying to get her back into for a long time. She would pull it out whenever we were all getting ready or the kids were snoozing away using the art to fill her quiet time.

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There were plenty of times when the kids would lighten the mood with their silly games and talk, and sometimes even she would get in on the laughter. There were other times when she was the laughter, and she didn't even know it.

Learning to find the humor in all the bad is still something I struggle with. A few days earlier we all went to see a 3D movie, only to find her wearing the glasses to both the beach and the pool days later. At first I was shocked... how could she not know? Yet, I didn't have the heart to tell her, or take a picture, because then I felt like I was making fun of her and that made me feel bad. 

Since returning home, we have been able to laugh at some of the things that I found shocking at the time, like those 3D glasses. In fact, I wonder if she is still wearing them out now?

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