Thursday, January 6, 2011

Finding Value

It is funny, in a sad way, what my mom's mind latches onto these days. Most of what is related to her lasts in her consciousness for less time than it took me to type this sentence. But, when it comes to matters of distress and concern, that is a different story.

My dad's sister passed away earlier this week. I advised my mom yesterday. Thereafter, the calls to my sister and myself came with unrelenting speed. Should we go visit the children of my aunt? When were we going to the funeral home? We would be going to the cemetery, wouldn't we? Why would trouble be the one thing that remained longer than any other in my mom's thoughts?

The answer, I think, is that my mom wants to feel needed. She wants to be in a situation where she believes her presence will make a positive impact and where she can perform a needed function. That part of her life has disappeared, along with her memory. She has become a person dependent on others and whose days are not measured by what she can do to help, but merely by what others can do to help her.

I recently read of an Alzheimer's patient who was given a baby doll to care for. She protected it as her own, and her restlessness and combativeness subsided. My mom is, in some ways, not so different from that woman.

Later today, we will meet with the family that grieves and my mom will feel important once more. Tomorrow, once the crisis has passed, she may not recall any of the events that have transpired. But I hope the sense of her having done something good and beneficial will remain inside her and give her some comfort.

Dignity and self worth is what my mom, and others like her, try so hard to cling onto. For today at least she will find meaning in her existence.


Anonymous said...

Sorry to hear of her/your loss.

Robert said...

thanks so much - my dad's sister would have been 98 in about 2 weeks- she outlived her 'baby brother' by over 31 years- a long life indeed