Monday, July 19, 2010

Bras and Popcorn

Several years ago, when my aunt first started her decline into the haze of Alzheimer's, we found that things used to disappear.  She would move things and of course, being unable to remember that she had moved stuff, great searches would ensue.  Keys, glasses, mail, anything that wasn't nailed down was a target.  It seems mother is getting to or at that point.

A couple of weeks ago, my sister served my niece popcorn in a cute little popcorn cup.  The cup is a mini version of what you'd get at the movies.  Mummy may also have been served some popcorn in a similar way.  As I recall it, the popcorn was consumed and the containers washed and left next to the sink to dry.  Consider my surprise then when I go to Mummy's room several days later and find the popcorn cup there.  I scrunched my brow, said, "Huh?" and removed it.  A few days later though, there it was again.  "Huh?" But this time, I figured it was one of those 'picked it up without knowing I picked it up' things.  Rather than get upset or invest any energy in it, I just moved it again and this time, put the two cups away so that they couldn't drift up the stairs again.  Matter fixed.

Well that matter might be fixed but the issue remains.  For the last two or three weeks, I haven't been able to find one of my bras.  I couldn't for the life of me figure out where it might have gone.  It wasn't in the wash, it wasn't in my room, it wasn't anywhere.  This morning though, as I was pulling out Mummy's clothes for the day, I found my bra.  In Mummy's room?  Oh right, in Mummy's room.  This isn't the first time this has happened and my guess is, it won't be the last.  One more fascinating aspect of the journey into the night.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Childlike Joy

During our childhood, Mummy never indulged herself.  She didn't buy herself clothes, shoes, handbags, books or anything else, regularly.  She couldn't indulge herself because she was the sole on site parent of 3 children, her two and her sister's one.  There was no way, with three children in private elementary school, that she could spend money on frivolities.  Her adult life therefore, was spent spending on growing children and their many needs.  What I'm realizing now is that although we deny ourselves intellectually, we can't really continue to deny our spirits the little lifts doing for ourselves give us, and not pay a heavy price later on.  So it is with her now, whenever new clothing appears.

Every time Mummy thinks there's a new piece of clothing in her room one of two things happens.  Either she returns it to my sister's room thinking it must not be hers or, as just occurred tonight, she trots it out with the excitement of a child finding a Christmas present.  In today's instance, the 'new piece' was a something that's about 10 years old. Likely it's older than that but let's say 10.  It doesn't look new, it certainly doesn't have that new clothes smell, but the sheer, unbridled joy at finding it.  Never mind this is a garment she wore just yesterday. 

The only epiphany I come away from this with is that self-denial is really only a temporary thing, at some point, someone, either you or your caregiver, is going to have to fill that hole.  I'm thinking that perhaps it might just be best to find a way to squeeze the fulfillment of your own needs into your life.  No point waiting until just before the curtain call to put yourself first in your life.  Perhaps what is wonderful about this disease is that it strips away our ability to lie to ourselves about what we need.  All those years when my mother was buying little or nothing for herself, she never complained, but clearly, somewhere deep down, she was feeling deprived and now, sheer, unbridled joy at finding a 10 year old pair of 'new' shorts.  Interesting.