Alzheimer's disease · Caregiving · Family · Role reversal

My mother, myself / July 12, 2006

I’ve been reading My Mother’s Journey and having a conversation with Bailey, its author, about the gradual reversal in roles between our mothers and ourselves. We have both discovered that our own illnesses can bring out the maternal impulse that our Moms still possess–in my case, I’ve actually found myself “milking” the illness (which is usually a migraine) just to reassert the normal relationship, at least for a short while.

Her post of today is a perfect example of one point on the long journey of role reversal, and of its impact on both her and her Mom.

Interestingly, I had a parallel experience.  I always wake my mother up at 7:15, before I go to work, just to let her know where I will be.  Then I call her at 9:30 a.m. to check in.  She knows my voice on the telephone, so I don’t identify myself–I usually ask her if she’s dressed, and has she eaten breakfast and taken her medicine?  Today she wondered, “Where did Ma go this morning?”  Instead of my usual reply–”YOU’RE my Mom”–I heard myself say, “I’m at work.”  As I commented to Bailey, I didn’t intend to play along, but the words popped out before I could consider them–they seemed right, at that moment.  And my mother replied, “Oh, that’s right,” letting the subject drop.

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