We spent Monday, Tuesday, and most of Wednesday in Youngstown at my mom’s. On Wednesday late afternoon, we started the long trip up to the Upper Peninsula.
There were lots of great moments in Youngstown. Talking to mom about all the things we are looking forward to doing with her when she relocates to NJ. Like seeing her on a regular basis, having her attend the kids’ Tae Kwon Do Belt tests, track meets, and school events, and having her over for dinner.
It was also great to see her getting a kick from watching the boys play at her house, the big playground at Boardman Park, and Chuck E. Cheese. I smiled when I learned that she snuck the kids a late night ice cream sandwich and let them stay up late during another one of our marathon Board of Education meetings. I loved seeing her more involved and comfortable with the boys and them being at ease enough with her to tease her and joke around with her at miniature golf.
There were also more sanguine moments. Spending several hours trying to figure out why she no longer has a Medicare Part D prescription plan. Talking to her about selling the home that has meant so much to her. Trying to explain to her that even though she thinks she is taking her medicine properly, that she isn’t and it is hurting her health. Having the same conversation minutes apart. Moments of paranoia.
Dementia is a cruel disease both for the person who has it and the those who love that person. My mom is trapped in a world that she increasingly sees as plotting against her. Sometimes my brother and me are the villains while other times it is her boss, her friends, and my dad’s second wife. Those of closest to her are trapped on a roller coaster where one day you get lots of glimpses of the pre-dementia version of her and on others you see a person transformed from caring and compassionate to angry and unpleasant.
Fortunately on this trip, there were more good days and moments than bad.