The demented struggle for independence has sharp barbs

nothingnicetosayI grew up being told to “keep it to yourself if you do not have something nice to say.” I have quite a few blogs that will go unpublished because I had nothing nice to say.

When I arrived my mom was in a crabby mood and the apartment smells like someone sprayed air freshener from wall to wall. That is unusual — my spider sense vibrates. I could ask if someone doesn’t feel well, but I already know that I won’t believe any answer that I’m given. My mom’s confabulations are usually very believable, but too often not very close to reality. My dad’s response will surely be “I don’t remember.”  I decide to watch and learn today.

We go to brunch and after my mom finishes a glass of champagne our conversation becomes unbearable. She starts to point to everyone around us and either state they are fat, mean or she just doesn’t like them.

I take a deep breath and ask my mom to name someone in the community she does like. This quiets the flame throwing for almost ten minutes as she contemplates my question. My dad’s initial retort is that they can’t hear us, so what harm do mom’s comments cause?

I use each visit to observe and learn. I can’t determine any specific reason for my mom’s mean spirit today. If this were a friend, I’d remove myself from their proximity; If it were my child, they would be spending some time in their room. I don’t have either of those options today.

My mom’s vitriol restarts with vigor as quickly as it faded. I move the conversation to discuss the dessert options. Using the tactics I would employ on my child or a friend that was acting the same way was a rookie move. My patience has left me and I don’t recognize the people I am having brunch with today. Tired. 

3 comments on “The demented struggle for independence has sharp barbs

  1. I once read that mean spiritedness occurs about halfway through the course of Alzheimer’s dementia. It might be due to the part of the brain affected during this time. If we see it as part of the progression of the disease and understand that it is a phase that will pass, it is easier to bear, I think.

    • Sadly, she’s been kinda mean for more than a year … I’ve lost track of when it started. I do believe the stroke she had more than 3 years ago radically changed her in many ways. We are all learning how to better help her and guide her back to calm when she starts. I do hope it will pass. Thank you for the note.

  2. […] been telling myself that my parents are gone — however visiting with them now is pleasant compared to just six months ago. We still have a connection and familiarity and often spend our time chatting about the puzzle they […]

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