Alzheimer's disease · Caregiver · Caregiving

Rebus / May 21, 2006

In the middle of the heartbreak I do have to marvel at how the mind–even one that’s “broken”–is intuitively capable of a kind of rough poetry. My mother’s ongoing, inexpressible loss finds a metaphor in her anxiety over things she believes have been taken or misplaced. We spent all yesterday afternoon looking for something, and I’m still not sure what we were looking for. It began as a knitted pouch containing her rosary beads and financial documents, and gradually became a set of keys to a car she hasn’t driven in well over a year. This is a relatively new anxiety for her, but common to people with AD. I didn’t handle it well, I now know. I got upset when she couldn’t tell me exactly what she’d lost, and her need to look in the same drawers, closets and handbag finally drove me to snap at her. And so I must have aggravated the anxiety and reminded her even more pointedly of her loss.

So today when she brought it up again, I stayed calm. I said, We won’t worry about it until we need it. We’re all set right now. And she didn’t bring it up again.

Now who would have thought that majoring in English Lit all those years ago would help me now?

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