Wednesday, February 11, 2009

My Aunt Gladys


I haven't been to visit her in the nursing home. It makes me feel like shit.

I've reconnected with my cousins, her two daughters and one of them is accompanying me to see her in two weeks. I didn't ask for her to go with me. She offered when she found out that I'd like to see her. Knowing that I needed someone to hold my hand.

I want to go visit her mother, but I just don't know how. I don't know what to say. I don't know what to do with my hands. I don't know what to take. I'm scared.

She has Lewy Body Dementia. I don't know what to expect. Will it be a good day for her?

Will she remember that she was the first person to comfort me in the ER when I tried to kill myself? Or will I just be a person that came to visit her with tears in my eyes?

34 comments:

RiverPoet said...

Don't think too much about it. Just go. Even if she's not having a good day, be there for her.

My BFF's father died a little over a year ago from Lewy Body Dementia. Before then I'd never even heard of it. She took care of him by herself for that last, terrible year, refusing to leave it to strangers. I don't know how she did it, but I do know it nearly drove her mad.

Go, be there for your aunt. She'll know.

Peace - D

Jay said...

It's a incredibly hard thing to do. A lot of people would just not go. You're doing the right thing by going. I hope she's having one of her better days.

SkylersDad said...

RiverPoet is right, just be there. Answer the same questions over again, and try not to get frustrated, knowing that their frustration is even greater.

It is a difficult thing to do, and I have had to do it a lot, with a lot of people.

Lu' said...

A very hard trip to make. Brace yourself for a bad day because it might be one. You will be prepared and pleasantly suprised if it is a good day. Even if she doesn't know who you are you will have the knowledge that you were there, you made the journey. It matters.

Another Suburban Mom said...

Its a hard trip but your conscience will feel better for it.

~*Jobthingy*~ said...

i hope she is having a great day when you go.

and even if not, you will be better for going :)

Diane said...

sounds to me like you might owe her to *not* be another visitor with tears in their eyes. i'm sure she'd love a visit from someone with a smile on their face. even if she doesn't remember the face.

you're a tough lady. you'll do fine.

kimber p said...

go see her, you won't regret the time you spent. You would regret not going...speaking from personal experience here. trust me.

Dana said...

Hmmmm ... the real question is will it be a good day for you?

Sandi said...

Wow, until today I have never heard another person say "Lewy Body Dimentia." My father had it. Sadly, he passed away last year. LB is a different kind of dementia. My dad was able to recall the past, and would do so fondly. He loved to color (with crayons) although he never did before he got sick. He also enjoyed being read to on his bad days, so bring a book. Pictures will bring back memories so I always tucked a few in my pocket and they never failed to bring a smile to his face.
Good luck and enjoy your visit!

Queen-Size funny bone said...

You'll remember for the two of you.

vixen kitten said...

You've had some great advice here, so all I have to add is a big *hug* for that beautiful heart of yours.

xoxo
~vk~

Nolens Volens said...

RiverPoet is right. Just go and just be yourself. Whether she remembers you or not, treat her as if she's someone you'd like to know better. Maybe she will "click" and talk to you.

we're doomed said...

I vote for going. I think in the long run you will feel better about going, than not going. Life is short, enjoy it. Love is everything.

Ann said...

Dementia is rough to watch. I think you should tell yourself to go once...and then see how it feels.

buffalodick said...

I worked at a rest home through high school and college.. It did give me perspective...

Ashleigh said...

Go see her if for nothing more to give yourself some peace. She may not remember you but YOU will always be glad you did.



p.s. My comment tool MIGHT work now if you want to try it for me. Please. ;)

Melissa said...

I wish you a good visit, and like what Nolens Volens wrote.

xoxox

K said...

Good luck.

I think sometimes these visits are more for yourself than the person in the hospital...and that's okay.

Akelamalu said...

It doesn't matter whether she knows you or not, you care and that will come over in your voice, your touch and the very fact that you've gone to visit. Don't think about what you are going to do or say, just play it by ear when you get there. x

Micky-T said...

It's a sad thing when family gets put aside. My wife worked in a home and saw first hand how it plays out. Most family visit alot at first, but then.....life moves on. Feel "good" about going, even if it's a rare event.

CheekyMonkey said...

You bring yourself, your heart and those hands to hold on to her even if she is having a bad day. Doesn't matter if she remembers, point is, you and your big heart are there for her.
One thing I regret in life is that I didn't visit my great grandma more. I truly truly regret it.

Lynette said...

Visit, take the time to be there. You never know what part a person grabs on to. You may just be the connection.

Thank you for the thoughts on my post. He was a fine gentleman and I loved his beautiful smile that was always in his eyes.

Scarlet said...

This is so sad. I would go with my instincts without any expectations and know that I've done the right thing.

Once you've done it, you'll feel at peace with the situation, no matter what her reaction is.

Man, I hope she remembers you!!

phd in yogurtry said...

It can be unnerving, not knowing what to expect. How long has it been? Hoping you catch her on a good day and she remembers. Sometimes people with Dementia feel but can't connect the feeling with a specific memory, face, person.

meno said...

Even if she doesn't know, she'll know. And you'll know too.

Karen said...

Oh. I am so proud of you. I know going to nursing home isn't easy - especially with the dementia - but it will make your Aunt feel so good even if she doesn't consciously know it.

Slyde said...

from someone who spent the last 2 years visiting my grandfather almost every day in the nursing home....

go visit her. no matter what you wont regret it after shes gone...

C said...

all of the above is good, honest and caring advice. i too hope you will just close your eyes and DO IT. go see her. we dont know how much they can understand, i would act as if she was her old self, tell her everything in your heart so if this were the last time you saw her, you would not have any regrets. she was there for you in your darkness. be the light to her, now.... be sure to hug her, touch her, people in homes dont get touched much. it will be comforting to her. maybe brush her hair.... do her nails... whatever you know she would like. you have alot of love in your heart, just let it flow to her. you will be fine hon. but i dont think you will if you dont go.

love and hugs....xoxoxox

C

mo.stoneskin said...

I feel for you, feel for her, but you'll be doing the right thing going.

The deteriation of our older family members can be so difficult-but we can be there for them, I should be there more.

Vodka Mom said...

I'm sending you a kiss. Wait- let me brush my teeth. Okay - there .....a kiss for luck.

Jeanne said...

I have an aunt with Parkinson's and visit her once a month (less than I'd like, but her nursing home is an hour away). The meds they give her to stop the tremors has essentially destroyed her memory. But every visit is easier, because I know what to expect now.

Fortune Cookies said...

As hard as it is for us to go visit them in the Nursing Home, think about how it is for them to be there, without us visiting...
I've seen both sides of this, visiting my Grandam when she lived in one then later working in Nursing Homes myself as a nurse. The saddest thing to see was the patients who had families who loved them, but stayed away because it was so hard to see Mom or Dad or whoever in this condition. Everyone misses out when that happens. Aunt Gladys may or may not recognize you...but I feel you presence will resonate with her at a deeper level. Even if she doesn't know it on that particular day, she will still know it.
((bloggy hugs to you))

Ultra Princess said...

Just know that it is good for your soul to go. Let it be what it will..... hold her hand if she allows. Feel love in your heart even if you're just a visitor with tears in your eyes.

xo