Finally got a hold of mom today, after calling Sunday, Monday and yesterday. I figured. since it was a holiday weekend, she had spent time with friends or my brother Dennis and his wife. I tried Monday and Tuesday in the morning, afternoon and evening and got no answer. I didn't leave a voice mail for fear of her getting upset for missing my call.
So, the first thing I asked her was what she did over the Labor Day weekend. Her response was, "Huh, I don't think I did anything. Maybe I was with one of my friends." I told her I'd called Sunday evening, before Jim normally called, as she advised. She said,"Huh, I probably missed his call, too."
I asked if she was ready for the Wednesday night concert in the park across the street. "What day is this?" she asked. (Wednesday) "Thank you for telling me. I probably would've missed out on the concert. This one is the last one of the summer."
She asked me at least four times what month it is, before it finally registered. It is September and today was the first day of school in Portville, so she wants to be outside in time later on to wave to the passing school buses.
Oh, the dementia. She said she gets confused and frustrated when she can't remember things. She knows she went to church on Sunday morning and they didn't deliver Meals on Wheels on Monday because it was a holiday. She's very sure she walked her dog as usual. She can only guess that she spent time working on the jigsaw puzzle in the community room. The one she and other residents started putting together on Saturday and finished (maybe on Monday) and no, she doesn't remember what the puzzle's picture was, but it was nice.
"It is so terrible," she says. "How can this happen?" I told her for me anymore, I start talking about something and all of a sudden, I forget a name, a place, the title of a movie or book. I can see the person or whatever in my mind, but sometimes I can't make the connection. People always say, that happens to everyone as they age.
"That's what it is like for me and sometimes I want to cry. Something will be so vivid in my mind, then I can't remember. It bothers me more because, and maybe it is just my imagination, but I feel like some people don't like me. They make me feel inferior. It is probably just me, but I can't help it."
She ends that bit of sad revelation with, "You see some good in most people, if you look hard enough."
About memories she says,"I keep trying though. You are my daughter, right? I'm getting better at remembering that. I try to tell someone that we were talking and I can't remember who you are. Oh yes, I've been thinking about how much I loved visiting you. Where was it? (Massachusetts) Oh yes, Massachusetts. Didn't I pick up the girls once at -- was it the airport? "
I told her I wanted to ask her a couple of things. First, what was her favorite movie?
"Oh, I don't know. Gone with the Wind? maybe?" she answered. I was delighted to tell her, I knew she'd say Gone with the Wind. "That's the only one I can think of. I don't remember what it was about."
I laugh because she loved the setting, the beautiful costuming and the mansions. She probably saw that movie a couple of times, which would have been a luxury to go to the theater twice to see the same show.
I asked movie star and she responded that she hasn't seen any movies in so long, she can't think of even one, let alone a favorite. She did remember her sister was a bobby soxer and loved Frank Sinatra. She feels sorry for Bernie because the says her sister was hurt by a man she really loved.
"Some men cheat on their wives or their girlfriends and don't care how much hurt they make. Some women are married two or three times and get their hearts broken."
I told her she must know how to pick them. She was married to dad for more than 60 years before he passed away and I am pretty sure he never cheated on her.
"I picked the right man and I am not going to ruin my record," she laughed
She wishes something could be done with the farm house that she says is falling into ruin. "Everytime it rains, I think the rain is Leslie's tears. He loved that farm, so much."
I did not know what she told me about why she was moved out of the house into her apartment. It was the fire department, she says that recommended she be moved to a place where she would have help nearby if she needed it. She says she started to get scared at night and she would call 911. The firemen would come and take her to the hospital. But there was never anything wrong with her, except that she got scared. Firemen talked to her about it. They told her they were afraid something bad could happen to her, specifically fall and not be able to get help. They were nice to her, told her they would be writing a report because they care about her and wouldn't want anything to happen to her, living alone with no one around.
"They were right, but it is still hard for me. I miss home."
She says of her apartment, she tapes pictures on her wall when she has one she wants to look at. There are a lot of framed pictures of people and kids on her wall, but she doesn't remember who put them there or who the pictures are of. Probably family or something, she concludes.
We talked about when she and dad renovated the living room. She said the stones for the fireplace were stones they gathered and bought home for the project. I asked her where they found them -- really nice field stone. She thought for a minute and said from East Branch Dam. That surprised me. When I was in high school, we spent a couple of summer vacations staying in a cottage there that was owned by a friend of dad's who owned a big turkey farm. I remember it was called the East Branch Dam on the Clarion River in Elk County, Pa. We loved staying here. It was quiet, with lots of wildlife -- wait, that was just like home. :)
Mom and her dog were about to take a nap, when I called and I could tell she was getting tired as we talked.
We made plans to talk again in a few days and I wished her a dream-filled nap.
"I love you, mom." "Oh, I love you, too dear."