After my father died, I went to live with Mom for a while.
It was a good time in my life to move in with her and check to see if she’d be able to handle living alone, and to get her sorted with her own new life. Turns out, Mom had dementia.
We hadn’t even been paying attention because Dad had been sick for a while. I ended up sticking it out with her for two years, up until it became critical for my sisters and I to get her into an assisted living facility. Some people get dementia and are happy and easy to live with; Mom, unfortunately, wasn’t one of them in her early days. At the two-year mark, I was coming apart at the seams.
In order to keep some semblance of sanity, I decided to focus on creating good memories when they happened.
Here’s one of them:
Mom and I were making apple pie in her kitchen one afternoon. I was chopping apples while she was preparing the dough. The Cubs and Brewers game was playing on the radio. (Remember, in the Chicago area, baseball fans come in two breeds: Cubs fans and White Sox fans.)
At one point, Mom asked, “Who’s playing?”
I replied, “The Cubs are at the Brewers.”
There was a pause, then she asked, “Who’s winning?”
I said, “The Brewers are up five to three, bottom of the fourth.”
Another pause, then a sigh, followed by, “Some things never change.”
Immediately the old Chevrolet commercial popped into my head: “Baseball, hot dogs, apple pie, and Chevrolet.” You know the one. You just sang it with me. (For our non-US readers, that’s an American car company!)
So I replied to Mom’s musing, “Baseball and apple pie?”
She shot back, “No, the Cubs…losing.”
Mom passed away just a few months before the Cubs finally became World Series Champs (again) in 2016. After the final out of the game, I looked up at the starry sky that night (after calling all my Chicago friends and screaming for joy into their nearly-full voicemail boxes), and laughed with her.
Why am I sharing this story? You know why. Because it’s not easy caring for someone with dementia. While I can’t imagine tossing my mother out into the street, I can understand how some folks get to the breaking point and don’t know where to turn.
Thanks for enjoying this memory with me!