Well, this month was really really emotionally draining. My mother has bed hopped between my sisters and my house - two weeks each. Her condition has really declined fast. She will be in the middle of eating and ask what we're having. She has asked me, no lie, at least 100 times what my H does for a living and how long we've been married and where we met. She asks me almost every evening why I'm giving her medications and why she has to shower and why she has to wear those "fancy fake panties" (I refuse to call them diapers)...and it goes on and on. While she's been here, my sister and I were able to get her to a lawyer to sign a living will and grant us each power of attorney over her financial and health/medical affairs. I opened a joint account with her at my bank. The plan is she's moving to CT so she can be near more family - in PA she only has my one sister who is always very overbooked and loses her patience with mom on a regular basis - we just can't see it being a good fit as mom's health and mental state decline. We're in the process of applying for state funding and finding a nursing home for mom, but in the interim, beginning in September, she will likely live with my sister during the week and me on weekends, which totally inhales deeply since I work full time all week - my weekends are my only time to do things, clean, run errands, go away, etc. Oh well, it's temporary and I don't want to sound like I'm complaining. It's actually been a pleasure for me to be able to help my mom and care for her - it really has been. I hope that I'm teaching my daughters a lesson or two about empathy and compassion, lessons that will help them when its my turn. Ugh. But it is tiring and my house is a mess, I'm exhausted, I do loads of laundry every day, clean the bathroom several times a day, and I had to take two weeks of my vacation to stay home and care for mom. She asks me all the time, "Do you work?" and I tell her and then she asks, "Oh, are you on vacation then?" and I tell her I took vaca so we could spend some time together - that always makes her feel good and I get to see her stunning smile and glittery sparkling eyes. My mom is a large woman, very. So she gets horrible chafing and so I need to bathe her everyday, and it's hard work. It hurts my back a lot. And mom gets cranky at times and sometimes refuses to shower, but 3.5 minutes later, I ask again and she is fine with it. She asks for bread or pretzels or ice cream or cake or something else she can't have and I say no....3.5 minutes later I present her with a healthy snack and she is thrilled - she has completely forgotten about her original request. There is a certain blessing to dementia. And you have to have a sense of humor at the beginning because I know it's only going to get more and more heart wrenching as she continues to decline. The other day she signed her name with my dad's name, having completely blanked about the fact that after my dad died she remarried. I had to stop everything with the banker lady and start over. She asked me every 3 minutes why we were opening an account..."because mom, we need an account for when you live here in the Fall..." and she says, "I don't want to live with [sister], I want to live with YOU - you know why" all cryptic-like and the banker laughs softly to herself. Thank God I've banked there for 5 years and it's a small bank - they all know me and know that I'm not trying to steal my mother's money. Not that she has any....HAHAHAHAHA!!!! She has NOTHING except her kids. And you know, with all this going on with my mom, difficult child has been not that bad. I won't say she's been great because she's still not working, but she's been off her medications for a couple of months and seems to be holding her own...I think the absence of Monkeyboy in her life has done wonders for our relationship - heh heh. She helps me with my mom, a bit begrudgingly at times, but she does help. We play games with mom and difficult child jumps in there and plays along. My mom says the silliest things and cracks difficult child up and everyday when my mom asks difficult child if the markings on her arm are a tattoo, difficult child smiles and says "No gramma, its just magic marker, don't worry." We look at each other and grin. There's just no point in having mom get upset over that anymore. She doesn't remember that she's asked difficult child several times about the tattoos on her arm every day! lol. Today my mom is going to my brother's on LI. I have to meet him halfway and I have to say, as much as I'm thrilled to have a few days without the daily care routine (I'm actually looking forward to work!), I'm sad to see her go and I'm so worried about her. My brother's wife can't help mom bathe (she has back issues) and their two adult daughters won't (they are 23 & 25), which means mom will be on her own and that's a worry. They are not the healthiest eaters and my mom loves that - but she can't unhealthy food and I worry that my brother will not keep her on her diet. If she eats too much salt or sugar, she could instantly have a stroke or go into a diabetic coma. Its a scary thing. My brother even joked that we could save ourselves time and money by just letting mom overeat on twinkies! Oh my goodness!!!! I am hoping that when he sees what a toddler she's become he will be a more loving and caring person for her. Sometimes we just sit and hold hands and sometimes she wakes up crying in fear, asking me over and over again what's going to happen to her, where will she go, who will she live with...she told me she's afraid to go home next week. I don't blame her. I'd be afraid to be all alone too if I was her (She's going to stay with my sister in PA until she moves up here). Anyway, this has been such a strange time for me. I can't explain it. I've tried to start my sentence to describe it several times, but I cannot find the words. My mom always says to me, almost daily, "Jo, getting old inhales deeply". Hahaha. You have to laugh or you will cry. Thanks for letting me get that out. Now I have to go do some more laundry before we pack her bags. Tomorrow is my 12 year wedding anniversary and I'd love to be awake enough to enjoy it! Maybe H and I can take a trip down to RI for the day.