She is 92 years old, 5 foot 9 and 110 pounds. She is confined to a wheelchair, when her phone rings, she will stare at it. If there is a nurse or helper in the room, they will hand her the phone and answer it, then encourage her to put the phone up to her ear. Usually, the conversation will last about five minutes and she will hang up,
She calls me Nancy, Gwen or Mary Anne but her dementia has taken away the brilliant mind this librarian once owned and it has been a struggle to separate this mother from the one in the past. I knew when Dad died, we were going to be in trouble. My sisters found her on the eve of his passing (she had been with him when he died) on her bed, passed out from exhaustion and broken hearted, surrounded by urine still leaking out on the floor. My sisters not knowing them that she has a UTI assumed she was unable to care for herself and whisked her off to assisted living.
She is now entering hospice and her dementia gives way to bursts of anger against “her girls” who she believes “betrayed her.” I get the brunt of most of this anger, because after all, Life seems to always come full circle and as a child, I bore all her anger until I could bear no more and ran away from home.
They will put her in the hospital for one final time to hydrate her before preparing us for the inevitable, and even though, we have never had a perfect relationship with each other, I find myself saddened that she has come down to this point. I do try to call her every week- I went to see her a few months ago and it ended horribly. I cried the 900 miles home and were it not for our dog who accompanied me on that trip and swallowed my tears, I do not know what I would have done.
She insisted tonight that Mike and I get her out of this horrible place she is in. She snapped at me and said “You can do this Mary Anne, don’t tell your sisters, put your heads together and be smart about it!” I told her that I was unable to trump a doctor’s order and she snarled “You were always such a worthless child!” And then she hung up on my shattered heart.
I just hope when she does leave this world, she leaves behind all the anger she has carried toward me and finally be at peace. She deserves at least that.