by Susanne Kaboord
A note from the author on her journey with dementia
The short piece below deals with the emotional journey I share with my mother. Throughout her battle with dementia, my mother has demonstrated humor and grace. Although we both share the fear of disease progression, I have given her support and, I hope, some measure of comfort while I struggle to come to terms with my own unknown fate.
By Her Side: My Mother’s Battle with Dementia
She walks into the room and sees the old woman sleeping, breathing softly. How did the old woman become so frail so quickly? It seems at some point the old woman gave up and became a shadow of her former self. Occasionally, a spark surfaces. A joke, a smile, and suddenly the woman appears fully aware of her life and those around her. She wonders out loud how she got where she is, but doesn’t fight her fate. Maybe there is no fight left in the old woman because there is no winning this particular war. At 91, the woman has fought her share of battles, lost loves, lost children, but the worst loss to her is hope. She will never go home. She touches the old woman’s toes, gently massaging them until she wakes. The old woman stirs, she is startled. Her daughter speaks to her, but she cannot hear. The hearing aids are a necessity now. In a moment, she recognizes her daughter’s face and smiles. Her hearing aids are put in place and a conversation begins. Nothing new is said. She and her daughter touch saying more than words ever do. I am her daughter, living in fear of when my frailty will begin, wondering when life will knock the snot out of me. So far, so good.
Susanne Kaboord is a 66-year-old woman who lives in Galveston, Texas with her husband, 4 cats and 1 dog. Her mother lived with them for 10 years before moving to assisted living.