I remember telling my mother that as long as I didn’t find cantaloupe cooking in the microwave, things would be okay. She kept her part of the bargain. Unfortunately, she lost a number of other things along the way. Or so she claims. Perhaps a better word is “accuses.”
It’s not like I want or need one of the 8974 pens she has collected over the years (of which few have any ink). Before I fully realized what was going on, I used to chide her and say, “You’ve never met a pen or a rubber band you couldn’t keep.”
Nor do I have any interest in the numerous hangers that are tied together with miles of Saran Wrap, the countless empty prescription phials that have been amassed over the years (among boxes of them, one might find a thumbtack in one or two beads in another). You are probably imagining that she presents classic symptoms of a hoarder.
If only she (and my siblings) could be so lucky.
My mother has dementia.
Which is really the only correct medical term allowed to be used until such time that she is no longer among the living and they (it’s always those “they” people, I tell ya) can determine through an autopsy that she had Alzheimer’s disease.
It’s a sad journey to witness and I can only believe that it is a devastating one to be taking. Every day presents a bigger chunk of missing pieces that leads toward the unknown. For everyone.
I have a friend whose mother died of Huntington’s disease and he made the decision to take the test that determines if he would suffer the same fate. Fortunately, he will not. Every time I misplace my keys or cell phone or forget a word or a name, I wonder if this is the only examination in existence and if my brother, sister or I will be dealt the same cruel hand that we are forced to play each day watching our mother deteriorate and behave in ways that are more foreign than the soil upon which she was born.
I wish I could forget about that. But I can’t.