A woman's head is reflected and faced back to back - one of the brains encompasses vibrant colorful flowers, while the other includes dark and wilted flowers.

We Have Our Good Days & Bad Days

I think all my mom’s days are good days. She is a very positive person when it comes to her outlook on life. She always says she has had a really good life! Her favorite song to burst into when family conversations get too awkward is, “Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin’” from Oklahoma!. “I’ve got a beautiful feelin’, everything’s goin’ my way!”

When it comes to expectations, though, mom is strangely pessimistic. I have accused her of trying to keep expectations low. That way, you can’t be disappointed. I want to make a phone call, they probably aren’t home. I want to get something from the store, they probably won’t have it. It’s an odd dichotomy, as far as I’m concerned, and a little annoying, when she seems to talk me into and then out of the same plans.

Balancing the positives & negatives

Since her diagnosis of vascular dementia, I have had good days and bad days. Some days, she seems like my same mom. I try to remember what she was like before, when I was younger. The changes can be subtle, but then more dramatic when I think of all the things she used to do. She struggles with her words, now. We are getting used to it. She is frustrated by it, but her speech therapy is helping, I reassure her. We are patient as she fills in the gaps.

Some days she forgets to take her medicine. I check and remind her. Some days she sleeps in really late or stays up really late. I check on her. She makes her own breakfast and lunch. She remembers how to do that. It’s mostly grits. Occasionally eggs. I just realized that she doesn’t make anything else. Is that because she doesn’t want anything else or doesn’t think of it?

Don’t let the concerns of tomorrow rob the joy of today

I feel like I have reconciled and come to peace with how things are right now. I have a fear that things could change at any time. It might be dramatic or slow. I still work with her to find her shows on TV. She forgot how to find her recordings. Today she remembered. Maybe there is hope? But there isn’t hope, really. I just have today.

Right now, that is the hardest part, to stay in today, to stay in the present, and don’t freak out when there is a glitch. Enjoy today, and don’t let the concerns of tomorrow rob me (or her) of the joy today. There is a Bible verse that says, “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own” Matthew 6:9.

Let me not overreact. When Mom fell today, I thought, does this mean, when they ask at her next doctor’s appointment if she has fallen, I say yes? Is she falling now? I think she tripped as anyone would, but she isn’t so agile as to catch herself at 82. What does this mean?!! I ask myself that a lot. Is this significant? Is this an anomaly or the beginning of a new normal? I think that seeming refusal to accept what is happening led the social worker to ask me if I understood her diagnosis.

I don’t think it’s that so much as how do I react to it? What is my role in it as a caregiver, as a daughter, as guardian of the galaxy, as a watchman? I stress myself out. What if I fail her? I don’t want to fail her. So, I have good days and bad days, and try to stay present, as I find one more thing to keep tabs on.

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