Wednesday, September 7, 2011


I went to see my mama today.  I found her at the end of the hall that leads to her room. She was sitting in her wheelchair, staring intently out the glass door that looks out onto the parking lot.

I came up to her and touched her arm and asked, " What are you doing mama?"  She turned to me with the fading blue eyes that don't recognize her youngest child anymore and said, " Hi Mam! I was just sitting here, waiting...My mama is suppose to come and get me today and take me home with her." I swallowed hard and said, "She is? Well that will be nice."  As she happily talked about getting to go home again, I quickly got behind her wheel chair and began rolling her back to her room.

The nurses say that she can not find her room anymore and that worries me all the time. What if she wants to lie down, or just be in her room?  I know the nurses will take her there, if they aren't too busy, but what if she doesn't think to ask?

When I get her to her room, I give her the little goodies bag I have brought with me. Like a child, she loves the little treats I bring her. Sometimes it is a few cookies, sometimes peanut butter and cheese crackers, sometimes candy.Today it was a couple of soft oatmeal raisin cookies and a few animal crackers. She immediately took half of them out and placed them on her little eating table there in front of me. Then she began begging me to eat. Back on Horseshoe Bend, she never ate until all her children had eaten....old habits die hard.

The whole time she was munching on her cookies, she was asking me to come live with her and her mama; my (deceased)grandmother. She was explaining how we would have such a good time living together.

It seems that the further my mama goes into the Alzheimer's, the further back her mind takes her. The years that her mind has taken her to now are way before my time. So I am no longer in her world now. Not as her baby girl anyway. I am "Mam"...just some lady who comes around to see her...and this breaks my heart.

I busy myself doing things, so I can try to forget about the lump in my throat. I start by brushing her hair. Then I began clipping her fingernails and end by changing her sweater to a newer one...a cleaner one. I am thinking about all the times she did these very same things for me. The whole time I am fixing her up, she is begging me to come live with her and her mama. No matter how hard I try to change the subject, she is having none of it. Like a merry-go-round, we go around and around with it...over and over.

After a while, I tell her I have to leave. She asks me when I will be back and I tell her soon...As I am walking out of her room, she calls for me to come back..and I do. She looks at me a minute and she says very quietly; " If I'm not here when you get back, it is because I have gone home with mama".

I am trying my very best not to cry before I get out of her room. Just as I get back to the door to leave, she yells, " HEY!!! You know what??"

I stop again, turn around, smile and say, "What Mama?" 

She smiles the brightest smile and says, "Tommie is alive!"
( Tommie is her brother who passed away in the early 60's) 

My mama...the lady her gave me life..who fed me, clothed me, washed my little body in a tin tub...stayed with me during my many sicknesses and stood by me all my life.... Has left me to go somewhere back in time.

Like a little child, I want to beg, "please don't leave me mama"...I want to wail and cry and throw a hissy fit..I want my mama to come back....

Listening to her talk about where her and her mama's home is, she has to be somewhere in the 1930's.

A place in time where she still has her brother and sisters, and her mama...A place in time where life was simple and good.

I love you my mama.



Pat said...

Carlene...This post brought tears to my eyes. Oh, I can only imagine how hard this is on you seeing your dear sweet Mama like this. You know when we're around our Mama's I think we all feel like a little child sometimes. Our Mama's could always fix anything. I feel so sad when I leave from seeing my uncle in the nursing home each week. I just wish he was the man he used to be before he had his massive stroke that left him paralyzed. It breaks my heart to see him like this. He's getting where he can hardly talk to us now, and it's heartbreaking. Carlene, please know my thoughts and prayers are with you my dear friend.
Patricia (Facebook Friend)

Paula said...

Carlene I think at this time in her disease it is harder on you then on her. I think (not an expert) that she is happy thinking she is with her mama and family. I know it is so hard for you because you want her to still be your mama and she would if she could. God bless you Carlene and give you the strength to cope with this time in your life.

madcobug said...

This is heartbreaking Carlene. Makes me think of the way my mother was headed before cancer got her. It is the place where my grandmother was.
May God bless you and her Carlene. Lovya. Helen

Kath said...

Awww Carlene it breaks my heart to read what you are going through.When we know we are losing the nearest loved one,it is so so hard to bare.I would try thinking that at this stage, your Mama could be happy in her new world,she is in this world around her own MAMA at this time,like you being happy when you are around your MAMA.I would worry like you though if my Mama couldn't find her way back.I pray those nurses keep a constant eye on her and where she wanders to.You keep strong love,your Dan needs his Mama too and those two wonderful grandsons there Maw Maw..LOVE YA MILLIONS.Hugsand Prayers for you all.Take care God Bless Kath xx

ADB said...

Dementia is a cruel illness and not just on the sufferers, Carlene. In the end, they no longer recognise that they have the disease. But those around them are put through increasing torture. If it is any consolation: your mom does not know. Or at least, I hope she doesn't. I wish you and yours strength at this very sad time.

Adirondackcountrygal said...

Carlene, I want to say I know what you are going through but I don't. I can only say that I have seen with my own eyes what your Mom and you are going through. I realize she doesn't know you anymore and I know it hurts. In a way the blessing lays in the fact that she is happy! I have seen so many Alzheimers patients that are so unhappy and they pace and try to find someone or something or leave to go somewhere etc.. They are so agitated and scared. I know that it is hard to see the blessing in all of this but there is one. I am praying for you and your Momma.. Love, Linda

mortonlake said...

this had me in own mom is slowly heading that way.she is 90 i know.but she is still my i grieve with you.but thanks for mort

Linda's World said...

So heart goes out to you.

Suzi Que said...

It hurts my heart to read this, Carlene. I can only imagine what it must be like. I love my mother and miss her every day but I am blessed, I believe, not to have her with me because she surely would be in the same shape as sweet Aunt Margaret... It's as if she went through the looking glass, if I could just minimize this tragedy a slight... She's there but she's in a world that is all in her memories. I am glad, though, that in her world, Uncle Tommie is alive and Granny is coming to pick her up and take her home. She has to be happy... and you suffer so. I wish I could hug you right now. I would, and wouldn't let go until we both were cry-tired.
I love you, cousin.