Yesterday I went to Mom's house to clean out the fridge. She thinks we did it weeks ago, although when we moved her we left everything in the kitchen, including dirty dishes in the sink (which we took care of the next day).
As soon as I opened the fridge yesterday and started filling trash bags I was again overwhelmed by her condition. It's so sad that she thinks we already took care of this. In fact, she's mentioned it several times. I wonder if she was trying to remember if we did it and then convinced herself we did.
That kind of thing has been happening for a very long time. This rewriting of the recent past to fill in blank spaces that must seem scary -- the not knowing, the confusion.
Once I finished the fridge, I emptied the spice cabinet, poked around in some other cabinets and found this:
This broke my heart. Inside are light bulbs.
When did she forget how to spell "bulbs?"
When did that happen? How long has her mind been deteriorating?
This isn't a word my mom would not know how to spell.
We first talked to the doctor about her memory almost two years ago. It was this past Christmas he felt I was describing the beginning of dementia rather than standard memory loss due to aging.
When did she write this? A year ago? Two years? Three?
She has been in the independent living community for just a little for a month. She is still mourning the loss of her car and the loss of her home.
She hints at moving back home. I'm telling you I took a gamble emptying that spice cabinet. She is going to be hopping mad if she moves home and all her spices are gone.
Except I know she is not going to move home.
She is not moving home and she is not getting a car.
That said I'm putting off taking her over and finishing the sorting and discarding. She has always had a very difficult time making decisions about what to keep and what to let go of and now the majority of what we need to do is to let go.
So much stuff and everything she gives to me or sells or sends to a charity is another piece of her independence she is relinquishing.
And the bolbs? She'll never see the significance of not spelling that right. That's where it falls apart. That's where it falls on me. I'm OK with it. It's not a complaint. It's just a little heartbreaking at times. To see a mind deteriorating. To see a person diminished.