Saturday, April 2, 2011

B is for Brain, Babies, and Boyfriends

My mother was aware that her memory was slipping. It got particularly bad after she was forced into an early retirement. Then again, that early retirement came about because she was starting to forget things. She kept talking about the importance of keeping her brain active. She regularly played computer solitaire games, particularly Free Cell. She played Sudoku for a while, but her true puzzle passions laid in jigsaws and word searches. The way that she would chant the letters for a word she was seeking reminded me of my students who use word searches as a method of learning how to spell.

Mom also wanted to start reading again. Unfortunately, it had been so long since she had been into reading, that she found it difficult. I also think it was hard for her to remember chapters from one day to the next. It was easier to read the newspaper. But then, we would hear about the same article time and time again.

It was almost comical the way that she would get so excited about an article she found. "Oh my goodness! Did you hear about this?!" And she would proceed to read the article to us. Fast forward anywhere from 10-30 minutes, and the excitement would begin again. To prevent ourselves from getting too annoyed, we would feign excitement or even try to guess what it was about.

It is sad to watch her brain deteriorate. Eventually, she will become like her mother, I am sure, and simply lie in bed in the fetal position.

And speaking of babies, my mother always wanted to be a grandmother. She has pretty much been after me since I was a kid to provide her with those grandbabies. Every time a customer would come into their store with a baby, she would beg to hold it and bring it over to show me. It hurts that even if I do eventually have a baby some day, she will be unable to enjoy playing with them. My consolation here is that she has pictures of family friends' babies, and she is convinced that she is related to them somehow. So in her world, she has those beautiful grandbabies.

Now, of course, to have a baby, I require an actual boyfriend who should eventually become my husband. In my first relationship after Mom had gotten really bad, I spent a lot of time crying, because she would never meet him. My mother and I have been sharing wedding ideas for years. I always thought she would be there, watching me walk down the aisle, letting me borrow something of hers. We would have to restrain her from taking over the playing of the organ, as she is the only organist she can usually tolerate.

I guess I am just glad that she doesn't have to go through any disappointment as relationships fall apart. And any boyfriends should be lucky that she can't unleash her colorful comments on them when they are being stupid. They just have to deal with mine, instead.


  1. Very sad about your mother. Great write-up. Keep on keeping on! Sometimes it's all we can do.

  2. *hugs* My grandma is going through this right now and it is heartbreaking. I cannot image how it would be if it was my mom. *more hugs*

  3. It's so challenging to deal with Alzheimer's. My grandmother had it and you're right, sometimes you need a bit of humor in order to cope.

  4. Wonderfully poignant post, thanks for sharing. my grandmother has Alzheimers and it's heartbreaking and frustrating as hell.
    Glad I found you on the Challenge!

  5. I can't imagine what you must be going through. My husband's mother, who is 80, had a nervous breakdown recently, and she wouldn't eat. But it was nothing like watching a person fall victim to Alzheimer's. Nancy Reagan said that one day Ronald, in the throes of his disease, walked into the room holding a miniature version of the White House in his hand. He asked her if he had ever been in such a house. So sad. (Jolie du Pre)