My mother was my primary parent. She was the one I identified and spent the most time with. And it’s not like this was because my dad was a bad dad. He was a good role model and really tried. I was just a different character than him. Which is odd because we are very, very similar. I have always been a Chatty Kathy and my dad, because of his anti-psychotics, wasn’t very talkative. On top of that, I think my dad got in his head that since he never had a father he didn’t know how to be one. Whatever the reasons, my mother was the go-to parent.
I think she and I bonded moreso because my mother worked in Costa Mesa and she had found a private Christian pre-school around the corner from her office that I attended until first grade. This was about an hours drive from where we lived, so she and I spent a lot of time in the car. We would chit chat and listen to music. She would sing in her monotone soprano. My mother loved Mama Cass and Anne Murray. These were the ones I remember the most from growing up. (Especially Anne Murray’s Christmas album.) It’s strange to me that now whenever my mom gets upset, caused by her dementia, she is soothed with Patsy Cline. I have tried the other two talented ladies and she shows zero response, which truly saddens me. They are such a huge part of her memory for me.
Memory… I say it as if she’s gone. She’s not dead. She’s still alive, but the person she was doesn’t exist. That’s one of the worst parts of Alzheimer’s. It’s taken the woman I once knew and morphed her into this “bizarro mom.” One where she’s cruel, a liar, and exceedingly stubborn. The lying upsets me the most. She was never like that. Not once in my youth. She notoriously told me that there was no Santa Claus, at six years old, when I asked her point blank if he existed. For the longest time I resented her for that. I had wished she had kept up the charade a little bit longer to prolong my sense of “magic” and “wonder.” As an adult and thinking of the idea of having my own kids, I have immense respect for her. The truth is always the best. And because of her unrelenting ability to be honest, I could always rely on her.
It is such a weird experience grieving for someone who is still alive. Its even harder when you have to handle her affairs and possessions the same way. Even now as I write this I find myself deviating from my thoughts. All of this causes me so much trauma and I fucking hate it. I don’t want any of this. I don’t want to see her change and I don’t want to lose her. Everything that’s happened thus far has stripped her of any dignity. It is because of this that I cannot for the life of me believe in a god.
My mother has always been deeply religious. She grew up in a devout home and spent most of her days at the church. She has lived her life as a good Christian woman, and how does this higher power reward her? Alzheimer’s. It’s a cruel fucking joke. One in which no one but this sadistic deity could find humorous.
It is because of this deeply ingrained brainwashing that, even though she had transcended her prior beliefs, has devolved to where she obsesses over the sin of me being gay. That is the one that truly hurts the most.
I know what everyone will say, “she’s not the same person” or “it’s the disease.” Yeah… I have heard it. But knowing and understanding are two very separate things. Especially when it comes to past trauma.
My mother’s and my closeness ceased to be when I told her I was gay. Well, when I told her I was “bisexual” as if that could/would soften the blow that she wasn’t going to get grandchildren. She had made her beliefs about homosexuality very clear growing up. I even distinctly remember her saying she was a “proud homophobe.” After I had outed myself she didn’t speak to me for a solid month. Then any communication after her hiatus was short and cold.
As time went on and after my husband and I lived with my parents for a year, while we got ready to buy a house, I think she saw how normal we were. We weren’t these sinful sexual deviants. We were just us. That’s it.
My mother was the one to sign our marriage license (I think I put her on the spot and she couldn’t decline or else look like a dick) and she even introduced my husband as her son-in-law. All this progress, all this change, and every ounce of it lost because of her disease.
The last couple weeks have been the worst. She is now seeing people who are not there, talking to them, and living in a constant state of fear because these delusions are calling her ugly and/or saying they’re going to harm me. She breaks down into tears because she doesn’t want to see me hurt. I hate all of this for her. This isn’t fair.
She is now on hospice care and while most always believe that the death knell is growing, this probably isn’t the case. There was a moment this last weekend where I thought she had died in my car, so I pulled over and dialed for help. When the ambulance came out and checked her vitals this bitch was in top notch health.
The only way she’s going to leave this earth is because her mind forgot how to breathe.
Now I sit and wait for the call that she’s passed.