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Slow Disintegration

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My mother has been in a slow-process of disintegration for years now, and there's no stopping it. At 56, she has mild dementia and she's had 7 (official) strokes with her first being in her early 30's, as a result of a genetic disease that I may or may not show symptoms for later in life.  I saw the same things happen to my grandmother, who was blessed to pass away at 67. I know my mom saw the same, and knew that she had the disease.

I see that my mom is scared, and I know that I'm scared, and seeing her scared makes me more scared. I moved far away in a different state very young, and my mother received one of the more major strokes two days after I left. I still feel guilt for causing it. Growing up, my mom was always a smart, quick-witted woman, and when I come home now, she's faded. She's not the same person, for the most part. There's good days where she can hold a conversation, and bad days where she sleeps all day and is so docile.

I already have a lot of major life changes happening - I'm moving back to my home country to be by my mom, I'm changing career paths, I'm leaving a life behind. I've had a little bit of time before this to start processing how I was feeling about my mom's situation, but I don't think it's enough.

The hardest part for me has been seeing the gradual changes and still expecting my mom to be my mom. My parents just found a full-time caretaker to help her around the house because of how much this is affecting her even physically. I don't know how much time I have left with her, but I don't think it's as much as I'd hoped. Most of the time it's as though she's not really there. My brother got married half a year ago and it was as though she was shell-shocked.. there was no response. Not even crying, and I know my mom is typically a very emotionally-driven woman.

I'm feeling very overwhelmed with everything, and I'm tired of not talking about this with others after suppressing it and avoiding even thinking about it for so long. I finally stopped running, I want to talk about it, but I don't know how. I'm in my mid-twenties, I haven't met many people dealing with this. I don't know what it is I'm looking for out of this, I just wish I could talk to someone about it. Talking to my family about how I feel regarding it feels selfish, they already have so much to worry about with all of this.

How do I come to terms with these changes? Surely someone understands this situation.

Thanks for reading

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Dear losmorados,

I'm sorry to hear about everything you are going through. It is a lot for person to cope with. I don't know if you can talk to a social worker in your community and find out what resources are available. Maybe consider talking to a counsellor or joining a caregiving support group. I found these websites helpful as well:

Aging Care

Tiny Buddha

Grief in Common

What's Your Grief

There are also many support groups on Facebook that might be helpful.  Please know you are not alone and there are many people going through this. Its really hard but I hope you can find some additional supports.

Thinking of you.

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Ann L.

Dear losmorados,
 I know it’s been a year but I just found this site and stumbled upon your post and saw so similarities between your mom & mine. My mother too was an intelligent, caring highly emotional person . And I understand what you are going through. My mom passed away coming up on 5yrs next month, from dementia. She was diagnosed at 65 . My grandmother, her mother, had Alzheimer’s and died about the age as my mom was. I do not know if I carry the gene, but we all have vascular issues which contribute to my mom’s dementia. She had always had some emotional/anxiety problems my whole life. 

During the process of her being evaluated & hospitalized to get treatment. She had a stroke then broke her hip. So she ended up in a Nursing Home. She was not married and I couldn’t take care of her and support myself. I carry a lot of guilt over my mom. Logically I know I did the best I could considering the circumstances. But I still FEEL the pain & guilt of wanting to have done more or done things differently. Specially when it came to having to commit her to get treatment. You see she never believe there was anything wrong with her. That we or others were lying (that was the paranoia talking). And I tried over some years to make doctor’s appointments only to have her cancel them or tell the doctor she didn’t want to be there. So legally the doctor had to stop his evaluation. Although my mother never held a grunge against me she was deeply wounded by my actions. And never understood why I couldn’t take her out of there and home. I did visit many times a week. I brought her to church every Sunday and we go out for lunch. On holidays to brought for either to my house for lunch or to my brother’s . But when it came time to leave she’d always plead with me to take her home. 
To say I’m sad about her passing would be a understatement.
To make the anniversary worst is that my sweet baby dog Sonny (7yrs old) had to be put down just 1 month prior to my mother’s passing. 
Sorry I went on & on but I find my friends and love ones never want to discuss any of this. 
Well I wanted to let you know I’m here to talk or listen to you if you need to.  
thank you for reading my story. 
  Ann L. 

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