Not quite the plan

on finding my groove as a 30 something single girl and caregiver for mom with dementia


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Some days I think dementia is contagious.

Like today.  Where I actually mix up words as I say them. I obviously know all the right words but I hear them coming out of my mouth in a slightly wrong order.  And it takes me three trips back upstairs to gather everything together to be ready to go to the doctor’s office.  Some days I forget things that should be easy to remember, like what book I finished just a few days before.  And it scares me.

Do not be confused.   I am not actually scared that I have dementia right now.  Odds are good that I get it one day, but my plan is to worry about that then.  But what scares me is how far my life is stretching me.  My brain can only juggle so many loose ends and unresolved questions.  I need to pick up the meds, call the assisted care place, find the missing toilet paper, pay the bills, talk to the caregiver about hours, and take the random items out of the freezer that Mom has stashed there.  And when did she last have a glass of water? 

And too, I find myself feeling that I need to remember everything I have shared with Mom since if I forget, then those memories are gone forever.  So I want to hold on to the memories of a happy family.  Of my competent mother.  

Which leaves my mind full of these memories and worries and the endless things to do.  My brain is simply too full and stretched by the crazy life of mine.  And so I find myself grasping for the right word.  Just like someone with dementia.  Just like Mom. 

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Paying attention.

Another caregiver commented the other day that my blog focuses heavily on the positive side of this whole dementia caregiving journey.  Caregivers know that we have it tough– far tougher than most of our friends and other family realize.  So she is right to ask about this.

Most the of the reality of taking care of Mom at this point in life is just sad.  Especially having already lost my dad, I don’t want to be losing Mom to dementia before she sees me marry or have children.  And seeing anyone you love fade away is painful.

Besides the sense of losing Mom, I am all too aware of what I have given up to be here for her now– travel, time with friends, the ability to have a normal dating life and hope of finding a good relationship, alone time.  I really miss alone time.   Then there’s the worry of the finances of paying for Mom’s care through the end.  The question of how long this whole journey will last.   And I find myself wondering often, what will remain of me and my life on the other side?

So I write this blog to force myself to look beyond these ongoing stresses.  To pay closer attention.

Upon reflection, there is humor, love and good kinds of life learning to be found in so many of the corners of this experience.  Sometimes it’s easy to spot.  Taking Mom to the ocean and seeing her light up at putting her feet in the waves.  Joking around about my heavy wine drinking habit.  Feeling the purpose that comes in caring for someone.  And sometimes it takes more work to sift through all the emotions and find the parts that keep me hopeful or make me appreciate this time with her.  But the practice of writing this blog pushes me to do that.  It is my space to pay attention to what is here now.