A Quiet Visit By Lori La Bey
Today as I sat and visited with my Mother I had to admit to myself I was struggling.
Struggling to get her to engage me.
To notice me.
To react to me.
As I felt a lump grow in my throat and my eyes begin to well with tears, I realized my focus was all wrong. I had fallen back into one of my old patterns. One of setting expectations of my Mother. I wanted her to meet me where I was, verses me meeting her where she was.
Setting expectations is such a simple thing to do wrong when visiting a person with Alzheimer’s. Depending on the stage of the disease they may not even know we have expectations of them. If they do understand, they probably won’t know how to meet our expectations. Once I understood what was wrong I could correct the problem. I could correct me.
I was able to adjust my focus back onto my Mother’s needs and not mine. I could touch her and feel how soft her skin was. I could see her briefly react to the touch of my cold hands upon hers. I could look closely at her eyes and see her squint slightly, and sense she didn’t care for the bright light in the dining room where we sat. I could watch closely and see she preferred the banana I was feeding her over the scrambled eggs by the way she chewed. I could see her lips purse because she didn’t like the taste of the milk I gave her. I could see a slight smile spread on her face when I told her we are planning her birthday party for New Year’s Day.
It always amazes me what I see when I look for the right things.
When I get out of myself and focus on her.
When I engage her.
When I notice her.
When I react to her.
When I accept the fact my visits are about her, but not just for her.
When I take time to appreciate what I get from my visits with her.
What she gives me.
What she allows me to see.
What she allows me to feel.
How rich and fulfilling she makes my life no matter what stage of the disease she is in, or what type of day I am having.
My Mother is a gift to me and always will be.