I took my mother to the doctor and the bank today, she on her walker and I on my crutches. It was physically tiring for me, partly because the crutches exacerbate a shoulder problem and partly because I had to get my mom and her walker in and out of the car several times.
It was also emotionally exhausting because every time I see her there’s less of her. The funny, charming, sophisticated, interested and interesting woman has vanished completely. Now, she’s an amalgam of complaints and intermittent dementia, and bears no relationship to the mother I remember. That’s okay. At her age, she is what she is and I still owe her love, care, and respect — but she does wear me out.
Funnily enough, the thing that disturbs me the most when I’m with her is that she no longer smells like my mom. I’m a person who responds very strongly to olfactory cues, and my lizard brain isn’t detecting that old familial relationship. It’s a weird cognitive dissonance, with my higher brain saying “mother” and my lower brain saying “stranger.”
Anyway, for those wondering, Mom is fine, as this was just a “tune-up” visit. I’m fine too, only I’m so tired it’s hard to sit upright. I’m heading downstairs to lie down and read a book or watching junk TV. Have fun here while I’m away.