Living with Alzheimer’s 23 (a series)

LESSONS FROM MY MAMA (part 1)

  1. Patience is a virtue.

If we were hungry, we had to wait for the food to be ready. If we wanted to go somewhere, we had to wait for everyone to be ready. If we were traveling, we had to wait until we got to our destination. If we wanted toys and candies, we had to wait for our birthdays and Christmas. And then Mama would say, “Good things come to those who wait.”

Nowadays, we have a convo that goes something like this:

  • M: Where are we going?
  • G: For what?
  • M: For dinner.
  • G: (looks at the clock) it’s only 1:00pm. It’s too early to cook dinner.
  • M: (closes her eyes and settles down. After a minute or two, she opens her eyes.) Who’s in the kitchen?
  • G: Nobody.
  • M: Go to the kitchen and look for food.
  • G: Food for snack?
  • M: Food for dinner.
  • G: (glances at the clock again) Ma, it’s 1:05pm. It’s too early to cook dinner.
  • M: For snack then.
  • G: It’s still too early. In fact, we just had lunch.
  • M: Go to the kitchen and make me hot chocolate.
  • G: (doesn’t stand up, and tries to ignore her)
  • M: G.. G.. G!
  • G: (gives up on her train of thought) Yes, Ma?
  • M: Go to the kitchen and make me hot chocolate.
  • G: (thinks, It is 1:10pm. Too early for anything.)

I have endless ropes of patience, but because this conversation occurs every day, 24/7, 365 days a year, in the time of pandemic no less.. my ropes tend to burn faster and I snap at her more often. There is no justification when it happens, because she is my mother, and I was taught to never disrespect my mother. Even if there is no reasoning with her anymore.

2. Look with your eyes and not with your mouth.

This was a lesson taught to my brother when he was around 10 years old and I was around seven. I remember he was looking for a toy that had somehow gone missing and he was looking for it somewhat noisily (i.e. “Has anyone seen my toy? Do you know where my toy is? Where is my toy?”). Then, Mama came by and reprimanded him to look for it first before demanding to know where it was. True enough, he found it as soon as he looked under the bed.

Nowadays, because Mama forgets that she has eaten, my husband puts her snacks right beside her bed so that she can easily reach for them in the middle of the night. Nevertheless, she still calls out to us at odd hours (i.e. one o’clock in the morning, three o’clock in the morning, etc.) to ask us to bring her food. Even when we inform her gently that she has food beside her, she doesn’t understand, because her eyes are usually closed. Sometimes I think she is dreaming when she does this. It is only when I tell her to open her eyes and look around does she become aware of the packaging within her arm’s length and is able to eat.

3. When torn between two activities, choose the one that gives a better income.

Mama taught me this sometime 1999, when I was deciding whether to attend a business conference or a family gathering. I was already leaning towards the latter when she said it, and it made total sense!

Nowadays, Mama demands 100% of my time; but due to the pandemic, I am relegated to attending online webinars, meetings and events, something I need to give my full attention to because they are added learnings towards the improvement of my career, albeit nothing is happening with the tourism industry at this time. It is a constant indecision for me whenever a webinar schedule is provided because I want to continue learning and gaining information, but I know that the moment the event starts, my Mama will start calling out to me. It’s like she’s jealous of the time I give to the webinars.

How does she know when it’s time to compete for my attention? Beats me!

Old Woman and Her Dog

Daughter’s Note: If anyone reading this can relate to what I’m saying, then my decision to write it out is validated.

Published by Bukidlife

A journaler - someone who writes in a journal.

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