Wrinkles where smiles have been

Dementia is:

Adding water to plastic flowers in a vase
Putting the TV remote in your handbag
Storing cutlery under the pillow
Folding undies and carefully placing them in the fridge

Dementia is my mum’s gift to me. She can’t remember what my children are doing this week, but I’m hearing loads of stories of her long ago boyfriends before my dad.

Dementia is my mum in tears when she can’t remember how to listen to phone messages

Dementia is 4am phone calls when she can’t remember if it’s my sister’s birthday or her wedding anniversary today

Dementia is finding pleasure in patting a kitten for hours at a time

Dementia is not knowing about Facebook or Snapchat or being contactable 24/7

Dementia is driving to the favourite places of my mum’s childhood

Dementia is sitting quietly doing puzzles that aren’t challenging

Dementia is telling all the staff in her nursing home that she is Polish, when her grandmothers were Irish and Welsh and her parents were born in Australia

Dementia is keeping her here long enough to value and appreciate and say thank you and goodbye

Linda Ronstadt – When I Grow Too Old to Dream

 

We have been gay
Going our way
Life has been beautiful
We have been young
After you’ve gone
Life will go on
Like an old song we have sung

When I grow too old to dream
I’ll have you to remember
When I grow too old to dream
Your love will live in my heart

So kiss me my sweet
And so let us part
And when I grow too old to dream
That kiss will live in my heart

 

 

 


Yes mum

My 90 year old mother has dementia. The word dementia comes from the Latin dementiae. In the dictionary, it is defined as, madness, distraction or folly. The mum I knew is slipping away and all I can do is massage her dry skin with rose scented cream, hold her hand and try to bring her some joy. 

Some weeks the phone calls from my mother are so numerous, angry, repetitive and bat shit crazy, that I find myself glancing at shite online trying to distract myself while I listen to her tell me stories that I’ve heard 100 times. These conversations become so bad, that reading updates on LinkedIn seems like a good idea. 
But this week I found the upside to my mother’s dementia.We had a cup of tea and then she handed me her mail.
“Do you know what to do about this?” she said. I looked at the envelopes and realised that amongst the bills and a letter from Centrelink, was the ABS voting form for the Same Sex Marriage survey. I grinned.
“Yes mum, yes I do. If any of your friends here in the nursing home need help with this, I can help them too.” Helping people, that is what Christians who want to heal the world can do.


Forgive me for I have sinned or something

I’m not Catholic but I think I need to ‘fess up about my online habits. I have an addiction to Instagram, I get work from Facebook connections and I read crap about idiot politicians on Twitter. My addiction to lurking is not completely out of control, I know that Google + is pointless, and the only time I use LinkedIn is when my mother’s dementia flares up and I’m talking on the phone with her for the third or fourth time in one day and listening to stories she has already told me 100 times. So I connect with people on LinkedIn  in order to emotionally disconnect from the feeling that the mother I knew has gone forever. My siblings and I are mourning her loss before she has left us and social media helps me feel somehow less powerless.

I’m the youngest of four children and my mum dedicated her life to us so I’m slowly losing my biggest fan. I know that the Internet can’t fill the void but some nights watching tragic bands from the 80s on YouTube helps.

 

Bill Wyman – Je Suis un Rock Star – ’81

 


That’s good enough for me…

Last week I arrived at my mother’s nursing home to find she was watching Julie Andrews on the big screen TV with a group of other residents. She was very happy singing along to Edelweiss and Climb Every Mountain.

Then I read that a study by U.S. scientists has shown that the brain function of those suffering from dementia can be improved if they belt out their favourite show tunes.

Researchers working with elderly residents at a US East Coast care home in a four-month long study found that people who sang their favorite songs showed a marked improvement compared to those who just listened.

Among the songs sung during 50-minute sessions were hits from The Wizard of Oz, Oklahoma and The Sound of Music.

The most improvement was among those sufferers with moderate to severe dementia. I must keep my mama singing.

When my kids put me in a home for bewildered single mothers, hopefully I’ll be busting some moves to Gett Off by Prince, and my favourite Stevie Wonder and Chaka Khan tunes. But I’ll probably be warbling, “C is for Cookie, Cookie, Cookie, Cookie start with C. Yeah!” on repeat.

C is for Cookie