When a Family Member is Fading
People imagine that the two of us are having all sorts of fun while the kids are away. And we are, but we’re also taking the opportunity to get a lot of work and errands accomplished. Hearing that Benedetto’s mom is not doing well, that trek was placed at the top of the list.
She’s in a nursing home now, her mind coming and going. Some days she knows us, some days she doesn’t. About three hours away, we visit when we can and enjoy seeing her.
This time, the children were at camp, so we saddled up ourselves and the dogs and headed out. In her lovely residential facility, dogs are allowed. Misha and Grisha bring a smile to both staff and residents alike. Today I’m praying that they won’t bring any sudden lunges in the direction of an older person’s lunch or nose.
My husband goes to his mom’s room, while I wait in the atrium where beautiful music is playing. Our Scotties are going wild. I scoop them up and place one on either side of me on the couch. The squirmy-wormies refuse to sit still and fight me every second of our sojourn. At last, my husband appears, wheeling in his mother for a visit.
At last, I can hand off the dogs who are trying to pull my arms of their sockets.
“Nice doggies,” scores of old folks approach.
Thankfully, all goes well as they sink their hands into the pooches’ luxurious fur.
“Have you seen Alexandra and Benedetto recently?” she wonders.
“We’re here, we’re here,” my husband reassures. “The children are in camp this week, though.”
“The children?” she asks.
“You know—Petya, Pasha, Mashenka, Sashenka…” he reminds her. “Petya will be a senior in high school this year.”
“He will? So will Benedetto. How old is Benedetto these days?”
“Very old,” I acknowlege under my breath.
“Watch it,” he whispers back.
She’s not wearing her hearing devices today. We shout everything and she hears half of it. And she comprehends about half of the half.
We bring her a lightweight, super-soft sweater as a gift. It was her birthday over the weekend and she turned 90. Queen for the day, we want to honor her, whether or not she will remember that we were there.
Mom may be fading, but she’s not forgotten.
————Tags: alzheimers and grandparents, parents in nursing homes, pet therapy for the elderly, visiting an ailing relative whether or not they know you, when parents grow old