“You’re talking about me! I know you’re talking about me!”
I looked up. There came my mother full tilt down the hall.
Yes, Mom, I’m talking about you! This is the nurses’ station and I am going home for the night! I’m telling them there is no one with you now!
There was no patience in my voice. I’d had enough of her paranoia and enough of not knowing who she was.
A few years later, my father threatened me. I walked out of his hospital room fighting back the tears, to a different nurses’ station, where I told them I was leaving and didn’t give a damn what my father did.
I’d had enough of Dad’s dementia and enough of not knowing who he was.
My mother’s last Mothers’ Day present was chemotherapy. On Dad’s last Fathers’ Day we took a ride and hit a rough patch of road which caused me to exclaim “It’s a good thing we haven’t eaten yet!” He replied, “You mean we ate already?”
A lot about caregiving comes back to me at this time of year. Dad died at the end of March. Mom went into crisis in mid-April and died mid-June. Different years, same season. Same me. Mom’s brain tumors, Dad’s dementia, spring, Mothers’ Day, Fathers’ Day…it all blends together like muck and mud.
Sometimes you have your parents but you don’t. You see and hear only the look-alikes that disease has left in their stead. They know you, but you don’t know them. Eventually they don’t know you either. So where’s the Hallmark card that says “Happy Mothers’ Day, Whoever You Are,” or “Happy Fathers’ Day from the Daughter You Don’t Know”?
Forget “When you care enough.” It should be “When you’ve had enough.”