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Talking to My Mom

By Julianne Victoria

 

My mother has Alzheimer's, a disease that affects both memory and cognitive abilities. What follows is an actual conversation I had with my mom. I want to show those caregivers whose family members are still in the earlier stages of Alzheimerís how it can manifest and that patience is the greatest skill caregivers can have.

Me: Hi, Mom.

Mom: Oh, hi, Julie; I didnít know you were here.

Me: Yea, Iíve been here for a couple of weeks. What are you up to today?

Mom: Oh, you know, not much.

Me: Do you have any plans for today?

Mom: No, not really.

Me: What are you doing now?

Mom: Iím making lunch for your dad.

Me: Maybe you should wait a little bit. Itís only 10:00.

Mom: I just talked to him. He said heís on his way.

Me: Did you see this note that he wonít be home for lunch today?

Mom: Oh, (reading the note) I will not be home for lunch today; chicken for dinner. Oh, ok.

Me: What are you up to now?

Mom: Just making lunch for Dad.

Me: Itís kind of early. Are you sure heís coming home for lunch?

Mom: Yea, heís upstairs sleeping. Heís not feeling well. He said heíd be right down for soup. (Reading the note again) I will not be home for lunch. Oh, but he said he was coming down anyway. Heís late getting up this morning.

Me: I think Dad is at the office.

Mom: Yea.

Me: Please leave the cat dishes there.

Mom: I canít find my cats.

Me: We just saw them. They need their food and water, or they will go hungry.

Mom: Oh, ok. I havenít seen my cats for days. They ran away.

Me: I just saw Max in the hallway. Please donít put the cat dishes in the dining room.

Mom: My cats are gone. They died a while ago.

Me: My cats are here, and they need some food to eat. Please stop putting the dishes full of food in the dining room.

Mom: Your dad should be home for lunch soon.

Me: Oh, he left a note on the table saying he wouldnít be home for lunch today.

Mom: Thereís a sandwich on the counter for him.

Me: I donít think Dad will be home for lunch. Itís a few hours from lunch time anyways. Do you want to eat the sandwich?

Mom: No, itís for your dad.

Me: Letís wrap it up and put it away. Do you want the soup?

Mom: No. I canít find my cats.

Me: Please leave the cat dishes there. Iíve seen the cats all around.

Mom: I used to have cats. I donít know what happened to them.

Me: Itís still morning. Letís put the raw chicken for dinner back in the fridge.

Mom: Weíre having that for dinner.

Me: I know, but we shouldnít leave raw meat out all day.

Mom: Oh, hi, Max.

Me: See? Your cats are all around.

Mom: (Reading note again) I will not be home for lunch today; chicken for dinner. Oh, I guess your dad wonít be home for lunch.

Me: Mom, please leave the raw chicken in the fridge. Itís only 10:00 in the morning.

Mom: I need to make lunch for Dad.

Me: I donít think he will be home for lunch.

Mom: Oh, I made soup. He must not be feeling well. Is he upstairs sleeping?

Me: No, heís at the office.

Mom: I just got off the phone with him. Heís on his way.

Me: Look, he left a note saying he wonít be home for lunch today. I think he said he had a meeting to go to.

Mom: (Reading note again) Oh, and chicken for dinner.

Me: Please leave the cat food out. The cats need to eat.

Mom: But I havenít seen my cats for weeks. I think they ran away.

Me: We just saw Max.

Mom: Oh. Your dadís on his way home for dinner.

Me: Mom, itís still morning. Leave the chicken in the fridge.

Mom: Have you seen my cats?

Me: Do you have anything you need to do today?

Mom: No, not really. Itís kind of boring being in a big house all day.

Me: Is there any laundry to do?

Mom: Yea. Thereís a lot to do in such a big house.

Me: Please leave the cat dishes right there.

Mom: But I donít have cats anymore.

Me: Iím sure we just saw one of them. My cats are here too, and they need food to eat.

Mom: Oh, are you sure? I havenít seen my cats in ages.

Me: Max was just here, and Callie sleeps on you every night.

Mom: Your dad just called. Heís on his way home for lunch.

Me: Looks like he left a note.

Mom: (Reading note) I will not be home for lunch today; chicken for dinner. Oh, better defrost some chicken.

Me: Thereís defrosted chicken in the fridge already. You should leave it there. Itís still morning.

Mom: I want a cat. 

Julianne Victoria is a writer, healer, and spiritual counselor living in San Francisco. Her writing has appeared in Buddhadharma magazine, New Spirit Journal, the Washington Massage Journal, and online at To Be Aware (www.2baware.net) and Through the Peacockís Eyes (www.juliannevictoria.com). She is working on her books, two of which address mental illness and dementia, while helping her dad care for her mom who has Alzheimerís.

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