Momma Moves, Flies and Starts Over

I feel like it has been a million years since I left Houston on Wednesday afternoon.  It sounds a little ridiculous but selfish person that I am, I am not used to having total care and dependence of anyone on me.  My mother, Midge, has dementia.  Her health is pretty good overall except for some loss of vision.  But the dementia is tough.  When Amber and I got there Thursday she did not know us.  Total blank look in her eyes.  For those of you that haven’t experienced this yet (pray you never do) it is so unnerving, frightening and humbling to have the person who raised you, loved you and was your biggest supporter have no idea who you are.  Once I talk with her, she remembers but will forget again after I leave the room.

We got everything but the last things packed and waited for Friday when the movers would come.  The move was scheduled between 7-8 am.  I left Amber’s around 6:00 to make my way across Denver in the start of the rush hour traffic.   I got to her room and as she ate breakfast, stripped her bed, got the last items ready and waited.  The movers called at 8:00 am to say their truck had broken down but was finally on the way.

Props to Father and Son Movers in Denver-when they got there, they were friendly, efficient and kind.  It didn’t take long to load what was left of 88 years of living into their truck and head back across town to Amber’s.  Every few minutes, mom would ask if I knew someone who could use her furniture.  I would tell her that Amber was excited about having it and how great it would be in their home.  Then she would ask again.

The movers, Momma and I were to back to Amber’s by 10:30 or so.  They got things moved in and were on their way.  Momma was doing okay but not unlike a toddler, you could not leave her alone.  She was confused about where she was, who I was (at one point she talked to me for over five minutes, telling me about her daughter Cindy Davis until finally I interrupted her explaining again who I was).  She is unsteady on her feet so Amber’s stairs were a big concern.  Thankfully, her demeanour is sweet and accommodating. 

Amber’s one-year old daughter got sent home sick from daycare.  Momma and Lexi were similar in a lot of ways.  Momma was easier to deal with and was less likely to have tears, but Lexi was far easier to scoop up and bring along.  That evening Amber, Ryan and Riley went off to a wedding in the mountains, leaving me alone with mom and Lexi.  I was so overwhelmed.   Dinner alone was crazy with Lexi wanting whatever I had not offered and mom eating slowly drinking some white wine. 

Finally, I got mom and Lexi asleep.  I was sharing a double bed with mom to be sure she didn’t get up and wander during the night.  I think I got seven minutes of sleep, spending the last three hours or so on the floor next to the bed.  When Jordyn crowds me in the bed, I simply push her back to her side.  Not such an effective technique with my mom.  I pushed, she stayed in the same place.

We woke up around 5:00 am to head to the airport.  Mom was convinced her husband Jim had come to the house during the night.  I didn’t try to convince her otherwise.  We had stuffed every remaining item in the big suitcase and were way over the 50 pound limit the airline allows.  The bag cost $125 to check.  Almost half the airfare.  Do not overload your bags!! Bring two instead-lesson learned.

The trip was uneventful except when mom needed to use the restroom on the plane.  All those stories of “mile-high” club-don’t believe it.  Mom and I both in the restroom on the plane was close to impossible.  I would also like to say there are a lot of haters (elderly haters) who are incredibly inconvenienced by our slow path. 

Final word on the trip, we had a wheel chair to get her baggage claim but then getting the giant bag and her up to the sixth floor of parking and out to the car took a millennium.  Glacier are formed in the time it took us to get to the car.

We went straight to the nursing home.  I know mom was scared.  She kept asking if we could go to my house instead.  Thank you, God, that I did not decide that it would be a good idea for her to live with me.  I just cannot provide the constant care she needs and deserves.  When we got to the facility the administrator, Brooke, had made a point to come in to be there.  She is a wonderful southern women, very kind and mom took to her instantly.  Lauren, Ally, Jordyn and Kendyll  were there to help move her in and give support.

I think it went as well as it could.  It will be hard.  My mother sees me in some elite status way that I have not earned.  I will do my best for her.  I got home Saturday night and slept the first continuous sleep of many days.  Momma is home.  I did my best.  I hope she is as happy as she can be!

12 thoughts on “Momma Moves, Flies and Starts Over

  1. Cindy,

    Your experience brings me to tears, it is so remiiscent of those last days with mom. It is the most difficult and trying time, noone who has not been through that experience cannot begin to understand. I did chuckle about the airplane bathroom. When we finally moved mom to my house, dad flew with her. Daddy got quite heavy as the years progressed and his tale of getting mom in the BR pulling her pants down etc.was hysterical but at the time he didn’t think so.

    My thoughts and prayers are with you all, this is truly one of the most difficult times. The toddler like behavior is so hard to deal with and you can’t respond to your mother in the same way as a toddler.

    Please give your mom and kiss and hugg from me, I know she won’t remember, but who knows it might be one of those fleeting times of clarity. Take care of yourself, a caretaker is the hardest job in the world,

    Love you,
    Debbie

  2. Oh, Debbie, thank you for the pep talk. It is so hard. I told her about your comment and she said, “oh. Nova’s girl” so she got it. It’s back to work tomorrow and we will start a new normal. She is getting her hair done then so that is a big deal. Miss you!

  3. Dear Cindy;
    The woman you describe is so far removed from “Mrs. Brown.” I praise your brave and thoughtful move to bring your mother to you. I hope that she settles in quickly and remembers you more than not. My sixteen years in home care taught me a lot about elderly persons. I wish everyone could have some insight into how difficult it is to see your own parent like a child. People forget that elders have had rich fulfilling lives and have lived with dignity! Cindy, my warmest thoughts are with you, and all my love to you, your mom and your family. Love you,
    Camille

    • Thank you Camille-yet in many ways she is the same. We had to stop at a parking lot before we got to the facility so she could touch up her make up and put on lipstick. I am so lucky to have her here as are my children and grandchildren.

  4. Cindy, I know how hard this is on you, but now Midge is at a place close to you. You, Alley and Lauren can keep a closer watch on het care. Frequent visits from the three of you will be important for het adjustment to the new place. This will take some time but things will settle down. You will get more peace of mind having her close.

  5. Hang in there; don’t question your decisions. You are making them for the right reasons and basing them on the best available information.
    I haven’t been where you are but I remember when Sharyl was there with your Aunt Bill; it was an extremely difficult time for her.
    To the extent possible enjoy the remaining time with your mom.
    Dave

  6. My love and prayers go to you and your mom, sweet Aunt Midge. Your comments bring back so many memories of how it was with my mom for five years of Alzheimer’s. It’s very hard not to spend more time grieving the normal mother you lost instead of appreciating the one you have today. Try your hardest to soak up the good things of the one you have today, because, sadly it doesn’t get better. I would love to have my 100% mom back, but right now, I’d be happy to have the 50% mom give me a hug. It’s so hard, I know. Take care of yourself and give Aunt Midge a big hug for me. Love, Lu Ann
    What is her new address?

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