The majority of you know that my mom is in a dementia unit at a nursing home and the last couple of weeks she has really come up with some off the wall comments that I just had to share with you. Frank and I went by on a Wednesday and she was so excited to see us, you see, Karen was coming to sing on that day. Problem is...I was the Karen she was expecting and she did not even realize it. I sang for her anyway but it just was not the same. I was not, "The Other Karen." Sigh...can't win for losing on this one. Then out of the blue the next time I was there she asked me what my name was. I told her she knew my name and she grinned and said....."yeah...but you know it better." I have to admit that she had me there. I told her my name and then she asked if I was related to Frank Korb. I assured her I was and that seemed to satisfy her for the moment.....I have learned with dementia that moments are all you have....because a few minutes later she asked me if Frank and I were married. I had to fight the urge to say, "Nope....we are just shacking up!" In the day when she was in her right mind...her reaction to that would have been priceless shock...today however....she would have commented something like, "that's nice" and I would have felt bad for saying it in the first place. When we first went to see her, we had a little game we played. I would say, "It is my favorite momma"....and she would respond with, "No! It's my favorite daughter.".....nearly a year has passed since this journey began.....now I say, "It's my favorite momman".....and she responds with, "it is my favorite person." The first time she did this I was crushed.....but as time goes on.....to be honest I am just glad she knows I am a significant/constant in her life. It could be worse....so much worse. I am blessed. In the time we have been dealing with dementia and my mom I have researched it thoroughly on line and by contacting specialists....I have read every single thing I can get my hands on....I have joined support groups....there are a lot of us out there....and you know....it is a lot easier going through this with others who have walked the path...then with people who have no clue. I have learned in the past year that yes, it is important for me to take care of my mom (especially since I am her guardian now), but it is equally as important to take care of myself. I have to feed my spirit and soul too. I also have a spouse who needs that same thing. Wilma is my biological mother....but she lived with us for almost 5 years and Frank was a part of their lives while they did. He shared his home with them and treated them as if they were his own parents. He definitely earned some major jewels in his crown.....and struggles with this just as I do. I don't know many men who would have done what he did....he is my knight in shining armour. We need to take care of ourselves as a couple. It is important for us to date....and we do. We try and find at least one day a week....when we go out and enjoy each other's company, hold hands, share, cuddle, and just be us. I don't think I could have survived this far without God and my sweet Frank. A member of Rock Mills church sent Frank this priceless email with a video clip of a woman who runs a place called Home Instead for dementia people. I hope you will watch it and understand why people who have family members with dementia find humor in the smallest things.....believe me....you have to. If you don't you would never be able to get out of bed. I love my mother.....the mother who raised me. She is just a shell today....a body housing a stranger.....I love her....she looks like my mom, she sounds like my mom, but she is an imposter. Being a caregiver...whether you have them at home with you (which we did for almost five years) or place them in some kind of assisted care unit....is a stressful job. So you have to learn early that laughter is truly the best medicine.
I know there will come a day....when she won't know me at all.....I dread that day.....but I will get through it because I have a wonderful husband and wonderful friends and they will be there to remind me of the good times. Happy Thursday to you all!
To Joey, With Love....WINNER!
1 year ago