It has been two years since I began to care for my aging parents. Time has gone by quickly as I look and back reflect on how much things have changed.
I never really intended to become the full-time caregiver for them and yet I found myself in this position by accident. I wasn’t specific about what I meant when I intended to help. I of all people know the importance of being specific. While it’s been interesting watching reality unravel without my consent I can hear myself telling people all the time to be specific.
This evolving relationship with my mother who has been stricken with Alzheimer’s and Dementia has definitely had its peaks and valleys.
My life has become enveloped by their needs and conditions. This was very hard for me at first. To add to the upheavals my mother hated me. She didn’t like me in her business. She didn’t like me in my Stepdad’s business and yet she needed me more than ever.
The time that has passed has been riddled with setbacks that at their age are difficult to recover from easily. My stepfather broke his hip in February of 2013 and hasn’t walked since. Mami had another stroke in April. It didn’t disable her physically, but it certainly crippled her brain function and did a number on her already failing cognitive abilities.
Since February I have not slept in my own bed or alone. I now sleep with Mami because she cannot stand to be alone. It is scary for her to be alone. She doesn’t know where she is until she sees me. If she wakes up and finds herself alone she cries like a baby.
She is Mami and I am Mona. Even my friends call her Mami. When she is hospitalized the nurses refer to her as Mami and me as Mona. I haven’t let anyone call me Mona since I was fourteen or so. Now though, it’s okay to be Mona thanks to Mami.
My mother doesn’t know anyone’s name, except mine. She refers to my friends by her favorite nick-naming that she always did. So the list is as follows:
La Borracha (Dana)
La Flaca (Nicki)
El Negro (Cheech)
El Guajiro (Bobby)
Gusman? (My Cuz)
Mami is pretty consistent when it comes to the naming of those that she cannot recognize by their given names. Except for me. I am always Mona.
Ramona? She is here and present. I recognize who I am still. I’m just getting back to some of who I used to be and healing her for a while as I care for Mami.