2015-01/28 – 

I felt like Mother Nature was releasing her fury right alongside the myriad of feelings churning inside of me.

I could not get to the nursing home. Multiple major snow events in mid to late January of 2015, including a huge blizzard with 95mph winds and over three feet of snow, halted everything on Cape Ann. After being pounded with more and more snow, to the depths of over 100 inches, the roads were closed to all but emergency personnel, a state of emergency was declared and people hunkered down in their homes to wait out blizzard after blizzard. It was a winter for the history books. I felt trapped. I felt guilty for not being able to get to my mom. I felt depressed and angry and frustrated and so many other emotions all at once. I wasn’t able to leave. The National Guard had to be called to help with snow removal since there was no place left to put it. 

The unfairness of it all was getting to me. My heart and mind were in turmoil. I was sacrificing so many pieces of the life I had worked so hard to build. I felt guilty every time those thoughts came into my head. My mother was dealing with something so much bigger. As her daughter, it was the least I could do to make sure she was taken care of and to spend as much time with her as I could. Being stranded at home so far away with no way to get to her was killing me. Massachusetts was at a stand still. All I could do was to hope I could find a way to get to her soon. I reached out on a couple of online support groups I had joined because I was in desperate need of some emotional support. I decided that no matter what, I would get out the next day and get down to see my mom.

2015-01/24 –

Changes were coming. They were difficult ones. Mother Nature had rained down on me with all her fury and pushed some major decision-making. The snow kept coming. It was overwhelming. I lived at the sea where the weather was more temperate and the snowfall was minimal. This particular month was the worst my area had seen in decades. 

I drive an old car and could not get down to the nursing home. It was just not safe. I had a friend who lived closer to where the nursing home was, though, who had offered me a room. We had a still budding relationship and I don’t think either of us were ready to move on to the living together stage, but there were not many choices.



“Mother Nature was not smiling down on me. She was raging.”

I was going to have to say good bye to my idyllic life by the sea. I was going to have to say good bye to waking up to the seagulls crooning at the harbor right outside my windows. I was going to have to say good bye to weekly dinners with my son who had just moved out two months before that.  I was going to have to say good bye to the photo studio I had worked so hard to build. I was going to have to say good bye to two businesses there and I was going to have to say good bye to so many friends I loved dearly.

It was simply too hard to get to the nursing home, though. My mother deserved to have a loved one with her on a consistent basis. I was the only one to do it so I needed to swallow my pain, ignore my breaking heart and move on to a life in the city. The decision was not one that came easily. It came with many tears and many hours of soul-searching. 

2015-01/22 – 

I could not spend another day away from the nursing home so I headed out that morning to go see my mom. She looked much better than she had when she first got there, which was really great to see.  When I got there she was holding a doll and I think she believed it was a real baby. It was giving her great comfort.

She was very talkative, but it was hard to follow anything she said. Her thoughts were scattered and much of it made no sense. She would bounce around from subject to subject and I started just going along with whatever she was saying. There was no point in correcting her. It would only make her agitated and for once she was not sniping at me as much as she had up until this point.

During the conversation she mentioned my “father.” To this day I am not sure who she meant. She could have meant my stepdad, or she could have meant my biological father, who had not been a part of her life for quite some time. She said that he had stopped by, though, and had told her he had some things to do. This was obviously a delusion. 

I had brought coffee with me and some donuts from Dunkin Donuts down the street. She loved the coffee but was reluctant to eat the donuts. It was very hard to get her to eat, which was probably why she had lost so much weight in the first place. 

We went down to her room during our visit and a gentleman from the room across the hall came to the doorway. Her face immediately changed. She looked at him with concern, asking if he was ok. She offered to help him. He asked her to leave him alone. She pushed the issue and insisted on helping to get him back to bed. He got more agitated and raised his voice asking her again to leave him alone. She was visibly upset. I motioned for one of the aides to come over and help with the situation. The aide helped me get them separated and I talked her into going back to the dining room with me. She insisted that my stepdad needed her but I told her he was ok and that the nurse was getting him back to sleep. This man was of course not my stepdad. In her mind, for some reason, she thought he was and that he needed her. This was going to be challenging.

Soon it was time for me to head back home. This was always the hardest part of the visits. I hated having to leave her and she always tried to leave with me. I reached over to touch her hand and told her I had to get back to the house. She said, “That’s ok.” and I was hopeful. I told her I would be back to see her the next day. She told me that would be great. Then I got up to head over to the elevators and she got up and followed me. The worst part of having to wait for an elevator is that she had a lot of time to follow me there. The doors opened and I told her I would be back soon. She nodded and then tried to follow me into the elevator. I told her she had to stay and reminded her that I would be back to see her again soon. She said, “Yes, I know. Let’s go home now.” It was like a merry go round. The activities director noticed my distress and came over. He sidetracked her with something he “just needed her help with.” It worked! Thank goodness! I would have to start getting more creative with my departures. 

Reading and learning about this disease is essential for the smoothest journey between you and your loved one. Here is a book you could try,



nursing home

2015-01/21 – 

I called the nursing home the night before to be sure she was ok and they assured me that she was. The next morning I called again. I had told them that she wouldn’t eat much for breakfast except toast, and even then only if orange marmalade was on it.

They told me she had slept well and that she had woken up early that morning. They had decided to let her help distribute drinks to all the residents before breakfast, which she apparently loved doing. Then at breakfast time she actually ate pancakes. I was amazed.

After doing much research I had opted not to go and visit today. I did want to go and see her, but I needed to give her space and time to settle into the routine there and realize that was her home now. It was very hard.


morning coffee

I decided to keep myself busy, since my brain was spinning and my heart was racing from not being there with her. I started doing a lot of research online and I looked for help. I joined Alzheimers and dementia groups on social media, and I spent a lot of time on the Alzheimers Association website. I read so much that day, I cried many tears, and I knew I could not spend a second day home instead of at the nursing home with my mom.

sunrise rockport

2015 – 01/20 – 

The next morning the sun rose in the sky like my world was not crashing down around me. Mothe Nature seemed oblivious to my pain. I gathered my wits about me the best I  could, quietly asking the sea to give me the strength I needed to make it through this day. I then got in my car and drove back to the hospital for the last time.


When I got to the hospital there was paperwork to be signed. They were eager to get her discharged, but I had one last request. She had not been able to see my stepdad since she got to the hospital because they were in completely separate parts of the facility. I asked if she could visit with him before leaving for the nursing home. I knew it was quite likely the last time she would see him. Tears come to my eyes as I think back on that. The hospital agreed to allow the visit so we got my mother up to the area where my stepdad was. This was the first time I had seen him since he had gotten admitted. I had been so consumed with taking care of my mother that I had not had time to see him. 

I remember how different but the same he looked all at once. I teared up a bit, but tried to stay strong. My mother walked quickly to his bedside, they held hands, she kissed him on the head and asked how he was, asked how she could help. He glanced at me in that moment. He knew that this was the last time he would ever see her, and he silently thanked me. They looked lovingly at each other, they kissed each other, and the tears fell unbidden from my eyes. This was the single most heartbreaking thing I could imagine. It was tragic.

His internal organs had started to shut down. He would not be going home. She was too far into her dementia to go home. Their world would be forever changed, and in that moment I felt all the pain, all the gravity of this whole impossible situation. My mother had no idea what was going on. She had no idea how sick he was. She had no idea that she had inadvertently started his final decline.

She glanced over towards me. She saw that I was crying, and she said in a very cold voice, “What the hell are you crying for? There is nothing to cry about. Just stop it. There is no need of that.” Looking at her as she said that brought me back to a day years before. My grandfather had passed away. We were at his funeral and my grandmother was seated between me and my mother. My grandmother was already suffering from dementia at that time. I remember my grandmother crying, holding her handkerchief to her face and holding my hand in her other hand. And I remember the same expression on my mother’s face that day as she looked at my grandmother and said, “That’s enough! Just knock that off. There is no need of that.” As much as I knew my mother was suffering from the same disease as my grandmother had suffered all those years ago, I don’t think I will ever forget that moment. It was all I could do not to totally break into wracking sobs. I still can’t think of being in that hospital room without crying. I told my mother it was time to go. My stepdad looked at her one last time, as though trying to memorize every inch of her face. He put his hand to the side of her face, told her he loved her, kissed her again and then my mom walked out of the room. I stayed a moment longer. I kissed him, I hugged him, I told him I loved him and he told me he loved me. And he asked me to take care of my mom for him. He had tears in his eyes and so did I. He knew it was the last time he was going to see my mom. It was awful, and undoubtably one of the hardest moments of my entire journey with my mom. 

Golden Living

I headed to the nursing home ahead of my mother so that I could get everything ready for her arrival. She came soon afterward and we set her up in her room. We showed her where her bureau and closet were, showed her the television. She sat on her bed and we were talking. Very soon afterward the activities director arrived.

He was a wonderfully vibrant man named Marcos. He was extremely exuberant and had a big smile on his face as he welcomed my mother and gave her a smoothie he had just made “especially for her.”  He had a very thick Brazilian accent.  She took the smoothie but didn’t drink it and as he left he said that there were lots of things to do in the common room down the hall and to come join him once she is settled in.  As soon as he walked out of the room she looked at me and said, “I do not like that man AT ALL. You keep him away from me.”  I brushed off the comment and distracted her.

It was time I needed to head back home, and I honestly needed an emotional break. Being strong in front of her was making me even more of a wreck than I already was. I put on an overly cheerful demeanor that totally defied the turmoil within me as I asked her to come with me to the room down the hall to see what’s going on there. 

There were fresh baked goodies being served and coffee, which made her happy. I helped her get a seat and Marcos came over with a treat and some coffee. She seemed to have forgotten her earlier opinion of him. I sat a while with her and we talked. Then I had to leave. I told her I needed to head home but would be back tomorrow. She proceeded to get up and follow me to the elevator. She said, “Let’s go then.”  I must have had a deer in the headlights look on my face because Marcos was there so fast. He engaged her in conversation. “Cathy, come help me with this.” He told me without words that she would be fine. It was so very hard to leave her there but I had no choice. 

As the elevator door closed the tears started coming. I left the facility in a blur, not sure if I even acknowledged the two people from the office as they said good bye. I somehow got to my car, and I sat there for I am not sure how long. I tried to just breathe, tried to regain my composure. I needed to get on the road for the long drive home. 


Golden Living West Newton

2015-01/19 – 

The final place was in West Newton. It was near an armory. It was adjacent to the Massachusetts Turnpike. It was called Golden Living. I found myself asking why these places always had such odd names. If I were to run a nursing home I would find a name reminiscent of beauty, compassion and joy. Not sure what the name would be but it would not be any of the names that were on the places I had visited thus far. I was quietly cursing the fact that my mother did not have long term health care and taking a psychological not to make sure that I do have coverage when I get older. I do not want to have my children forced to do what I was doing. Maybe I will even choose the place for them. But that was for another time. Right now I had to garner some emotional strength to get out of the car and get into this facility to look around. 

I took a mental note of it. There was a porch out front, a patio off to the side. There were windows on what appeared to be three floors. I had already learned that windows do not necessarily equal light though. It was next to a Trader Joes which could be convenient for grabbing a quick treat to bring to my mom. It didn’t look so bad. I had no choices, I was running out of options. I had to go in and see how it was. 








Golden Living West Newton

I walked up the steps to a small foyer then through the door into what I assume is considered a lobby. There was a haphazard sort of living room area to my right and a television. There was a nurses station ahead past a bank of elevators. And there were two offices on my left. A short older woman from one of those offices came out to greet me. She was expecting me and asked if I wanted to sit down so she could go over the details about their program. 

I spoke with her at length about my mother and asked countless questions about the facility and their services. I asked about the quality of life for residents there. I asked about security for the residents, since my mother had a wander risk. I was assured that they had the capability of monitoring her and that it would be no problem. 

She introduced me to the director of the nursing home. We talked a little, then they took me on a tour of the facility. They showed me a community room downstairs where they hold their larger events. They showed me where the kitchen was down there also. Then we briefly looked at the second floor, but that was not where my mother would be placed because of the wander risk. 

We then went up to the third floor. To the right of the elevators was the common room. There were tables set up was well as a full kitchen. It looked a lot like a home would. On the other side of the common room was a living room with couches and chairs. There was also a TV and a video player. 

It was much nicer than the places I had looked at so far.  We walked down the hall then and they showed me the rooms. The rooms were all doubles and triples so there would be two or three residents in the room. The rooms had adjustable beds, night stands, a bureau for each resident and a closet area for each resident. 

The hospital was putting extreme pressure on me and refused to keep my mom beyond 24 hours. There were no other nursing home options available to her because I would need Medicare/Medicaid to pay for it since she had no long term care coverage. I made the difficult decision to register my mother as a resident. I gave them all her information, filled out many forms, and through it all I was in a daze. It was so surreal. This could not be happening. How was this happening? How did I end up being responsible for the rest of my mother’s life? I somehow got through the rest of the process, and they assured me that they would handle transfer to the nursing home. I needed to do more paperwork at the hospital but then she would be cleared to come to the nursing home the next day. 

I left the nursing home in a stupor. I don’t even remember walking to my car, don’t remember opening the door or getting inside. What I do remember is dropping my head down onto the steering wheel, tears pouring down my face, my body racking with sobs. I stayed like that, right there in the parking lot. I do not know how long I was there. I don’t know if anyone walked by and saw me. I only knew that in an instant my whole life had changed and I was an emotional mess.

Somehow I gathered myself together enough to drive myself home. When I got home I was still in a stupor, still not functioning, I was going through the motions, but I wasn’t all there. I was not okay. I had made a choice, though, and I had to put one foot in front of the other, had to go to the hospital in the morning and finish the arrangements. 




2015-01/18 – 












That night I had a long talk with someone in my hometown who is a liaison for this sort of thing. There were many tears and much encouragement. I felt much better about things after our long talk.

The next morning I was armed with a list of nursing homes that would accept her and that had a bed available. There was a nursing home in the town where I lived, but in the interest of making visits easier for my stepdad’s family I tried to find a place closer to them. In hindsight, I should have followed my gut instead.

I was not prepared at all for what faced in in the next hours. The first place I saw looked ok on the outside. It was a brick building with a couple of floors and plenty of windows. I walked inside, and there was an odor in the air. I could not place what this odor was. I only knew it was unpleasant. I found my way to the reception desk where a woman who spoke with a heavy accent asked why I was there. I explained that I was there to tour the facility to possibly place my mother there. She told me to wait and then disappeared. I heard a lot of sounds in this odd smelling place, sounds of people moaning and groaning mostly and people talking sharply.

I leaned back against the chair rail and my hands were met with an unpleasant film of something. I am not sure to this day what that was. I found a hand sanitizer bottle on the desk and immediately used it. A portly woman came around the corner just then. She was in a business suit and had way too much perfume on and a considerable amount of makeup on her face. She introduced herself as the administrator. She guided me into her office and we had a chat. I told her my situation and she said that they did have a secure unit and would be happy to show me around. So we went on a tour.

The smell ebbed and flowed through the facility. People sat in wheelchairs in the hallways, some with their heads slumped over, seemingly asleep. We reached a far off area and she used a card to get through the door. And then we were in the ward where they would place my mother. The smell was stronger here. The people who walked around were slower. There was less chit chat. And all the staff that I heard speak were speaking in other languages I could not understand.

There were a few residents in front of a television. This was “activity time” for them. I did not notice anyone monitoring them there. She led me down a hall and showed me into a room that was vacant but had two residents living in it. She said this was a typical double room. Then she led me down the hall to the room they would place my mom in since it was the only room they had available at this time.

There was a stench wafting down the hall as we got there, one that made my eyes water. Inside the room it was dark. There were two windows but it seemed like they let in no light. There were four beds squeezed into the room. There was barely enough space to walk around. I didn’t know what to say. She was talking, saying things about a bureau and a clothes rack. She said something about feeding times and visit hours. I didn’t actually hear any of it, though. I was lost in a haze. I made some sort of excuse about needing to think it over, telling her I would be back in touch.

I hurried out of the facility. There were tears escaping my eyes as I rushed across the parking lot and as soon as I sat in my car I cried, I cried so hard, and it progressed to sobs, loud gut wrenching sobs. How could I EVER place my mother in the care of this place. This was awful. I felt so bad for every single resident there. I hoped that the next place would be better. 

The next place was not better. The place after that was not better either or even the place after that. I was discouraged, lost, destroyed. What was I going to do? The hospital insisted my mother be discharged the following day. There was one last place on my list. I had to try and give it a chance because at this point I did not have a backup plan. None of the places I looked at were places I could in good conscience leave my mother in the care of. They were horrendous at best.


Doctor Tests

2015-01/17 – 

I spent all day every day in the hospital with my mom. The doctors were pressuring me very quickly about discharging her. I had learned that she had taken the car out to find the moon one night since it was “just so pretty” and my heart skipped a beat at the thought of how easily I could have lost her. She went on and on about how she would go to San Francisco. She wanted to drive over the Golden Gate Bridge as many times as possible. 

I had a huge decision to make. There was no way she could go home alone in her condition. The doctors had put her on some meds at this point. She was taking Donezepil (Aricept) daily now for the dementia. She was taking Trazodone (an antidepressant) as needed for anxiety and for sleep and she was taking Lisinopril for the hypertension they had discovered when they did her initial tests. 

Her chosen medical proxy had been my stepdad but he was incapacitated. Her backup health care proxy was his daughter-in-law. I would be lying if I said it didn’t hurt me when I found this out. However, My step dad’s daughter-in-law did not want that responsibility and relinquished it. She passed that responsibility on to me. That meant that I needed to make all the decisions about my mom’s care at this point. Being responsible for your children is one thing. Being responsible for your parent is something on a whole different level. My mother was someone who passed judgement on me my whole life, and the scars from that re-opened as this all unfolded. I felt judged even though she was not in her right mind. I was so terrified of making the wrong choice. I was truly a mess. 

The doctors were getting impatient and I needed to make this decision very quickly. I lived in a tiny little one bedroom apartment on the ocean. I didn’t have space for her to come and live with me, and didn’t have the disposable income to give up my work to provide around the clock care and supervision for her. The home she had been living in belonged to my stepdad. It was not her home so that would not be an option either. 

I looked at her medical records. They had done a lot of tests. Her cholesterol was high, her blood pressure was high, but she had nothing that explained her mental status except the vascular dementia that they had just diagnosed. They did a brain MRI, they did a chest CT, they did a chest Xray, they did a head CT. We talked about her history and the family history. There was a long family history of dementia and heart disease. She apparently had both at this point. She was a long time heavy smoker. Somehow, if I were to look for a silver lining, in her delirium she had forgotten that she smoked. They had found lung nodules on the chest CT, but that wa the least of the problems at this point. 






Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco at Sunset






Doctor Tests



CT Scan Hospital

My decision needed to be made. The hospital staff and social worker talked about the option of placing her in assisted living since she was still mobile or a nursing home, but stressed that she needed to be in a secure facility because she was desperate to get out and drive. I told them I would go look at some facilities and make a decision. 

That night I looked at her insurance and realized that she had no long term care insurance. This meant that any assisted living would be out of the question. I would have to apply for state assistance for her care, which limited my options of where I could place her substantially. I did a lot of research that night and came up with a list of places. I called them all first thing in the morning and made a list of places I could visit. The hospital had put a 24-48 hour hold on her discharge so that I could make arrangements. I was in no way prepared for what lie ahead of me when touring these facilities. I didn’t know how I was ever going to be at peace with this decision at all.


Mount Auburn Hospital sign with hospital in back

2015-01/11 –

I would like to think what happened next was a surprise but some of it truly wasn’t. On the afternoon of  January 11, 2015 I received a phone call from my stepdad’s daughter-in-law. I will never forget that call, never forget the tears flowing freely from my eyes as she told me that my mother was in the hospital.

She went on to explain that they had gone in to check on my mom and stepdad on the 9th. When they got there, my mother was frantic, running around the house delirious, telling them she had to time for them, that her mother and grandmother (she called her Yiayia) were there and she couldn’t deal with them right now. She had to deal with “her” not wanting to get up off the floor. They looked over to see who “her” was and saw my stepdad, on the floor, barely breathing. 

My fears and worries of the past few months had all come true. They somehow got my mother and stepdad to the hospital by ambulance to be looked at. My stepdad was in really bad shape. His organs had started failing. the was severely dehydrated, his stats were really bad.

My mother was dehydrated as well but was still not herself, still in this other world of delirium. The hospital would not let me see her since visiting hours were over for the day so I had to wait till the next morning to see her. I wasn’t prepared. How could anyone be prepared. 






Mount Auburn Hospital with river in front




Mount Auburn Hospital sign with hospital in back

The next morning came and I left my peaceful home by the sea in Rockport to drive into what would become my new life. I don’t remember much of that drive. I do remember driving into the city of Cambridge, where my grandparents had lived, where I had spent so much of my early childhood. I remember driving into the parking lot of Mount Auburn Hospital. I remember sitting in my car shaking and crying. I remember having to work really hard to calm down, to take the keys out of the ignition, get out of the car and go into the hospital. I was like a zombie. I remember asking directions at the front desk. The faceless person behind the desk told me where to go in a seemingly faraway voice. I followed the directions, got in an elevator, pressed the button I was told to press and walked to the part of the hospital I was told to go to, telling myself to just put one foot in front of the other. 

When I got there, my stepdad’s daughter-in-law met me in the waiting area. The doctor came to talk to us and explained that we needed to decide what we wanted to do at this point. I told him I needed to see her before I could possibly be prepared to make any decisions.

I walked into the room and she looked at me with hatred and disgust in her eyes. She said “What are you doing here? You don’t belong here. I don’t want you here. Just go home.” I held back the pain, I heard back the tears and I managed to dredge up some inner calm when I answered. “I’m here for you. I wanted to make sure you are all right.” She responded something along the lines of “Of course I’m all right, if they let me go home. I can’t get anything done if I am stuck in this room. And you need to get out of here.”

I left the room, making an excuse I cannot remember at this point. My stepdad’s daughter-in-law came with me. I sat heavily down on one of the chairs in the waiting room. I listened to the medical people talking to me but I’m not sure I actually heard everything they were saying. My mother had some sort of psychological break. She didn’t know where she was, didn’t know much of her real life at this point. However, physically she was not that damaged.

They told me their best guess is that it had been many days that they both had been without food, water or medication. They told me my stepdad was not going to be able to leave the hospital and would ultimately not survive this. They told me they had tested my mother for a urinary tract infection but the test came back negative. They could see no physical reason for her delirium and all the tests they had done had led to a diagnosis of vascular dementia. 

I sat there in a stupor, part of me not wanting to believe it and the other part of me knowing that this had been coming a long time. I had lived through my grandmother’s dementia. I had lived through my great grandmother’s dementia. I knew the signs. I knew I had been seeing them in my mother. 

I saw her again, more anger ensued, but I persisted. I brought her coffee. I tried to communicate as best I could. I tried to shut off the part of me that was emotionally destroyed over her mother treating her this way. She was my mother, I loved her, and I would take care of her. There was no question about that in my mind. 

The hospital was pushing for a decision but I needed time. I told them I would be back the following day and we could figure it out at that time. I needed to process all of this, needed to come to terms with the fact that I would be responsible for her. My step dad’s daughter-in-law explained that she was just not comfortable making these decisions for my mother. She felt that I needed to be the one to make these important decisions and understood my need for time at this point to gather my wits about me and make some decisions. We agreed to meet the following morning to talk some more.

Some Books You Might Want to Read

Suggestions of books you might like to look at if you are going through this.



On December 30, 2014, after a nagging feeling that something was seriously wrong, I reached out to my mom. I needed to hear her voice, to know if she was ok. It ended up being a bad day. This is what I wrote in my journal: 

I called my mom today. I have just had this gut feeling lately that I need to get in touch with her, like something is really wrong. So I called, got the machine, started leaving a message to tell her I was concerned, tell her that if she was mad at me for something or did not want to hear from me to just at least let me know, if she didn’t want to talk to me to please just have someone else get in touch with me to let me know she’s all right, and as I was talking she shut the message down on her machine. Then I tried calling back and she had actually changed the machine over to not take messages. It broke my heart and I had a little meltdown over it. Cursed myself for putting myself through it by calling in the first place. But that feeling remained that something is just not right. My mother has not answered a phone call from me in probably close to a year now. I’ve only seen her once in the past year and a half or more and that was because I camped out on her doorstep and called repeatedly for two and a half hours back in May.

So I messaged my godmother, asking if she had heard from her, if she still communicates, etc. I told her how worried I am. She hadn’t heard from her but said she would try to get in touch with her and would let me know if/when she does. This didn’t put my mind at ease much, but at least I thought maybe my mom would answer the phone for her cousin even if she didn’t answer for me.

I couldn’t let it lie though. I tried calling multiple times, no luck. I did some research online and found what I hoped was my aunt and uncle. I called, got no answer but it sounded like my aunt on the machine so I left a message, hoping I would get a call back. I did. Within minutes. It was my aunt (my mom’s sister). The first words after hello were “Tell me you are not calling with bad news about my sister.” So the tears started all over again. And we talked about the changes in my mom, and how worried we both are. She told me about a dream she had two nights ago about my mom, and how she has been on edge and worried about her ever since. She got no cards this year either, which is unlike my mom, no package either, even though they always send stuff to each other. She saw my mom in September in Vegas and said she looked way too gaunt and skinny, emaciated looking, not well, but seemed relatively ok. She called my mom the day after christmas and got hung up on in the middle of the conversation. She feels like my mom’s brain is failing too. So we had quite a conversation, I found out how little she knew about anything that has happened over the years, how much my mother kept from her, and all that. I told her how my mother had kept me from keeping in touch with her, told her about the lack of contact with my mom. She had thought I just didn’t care, and never knew it was my mom who forbade me to drop by and say hello. It was a very emotionally draining conversation.

And she is going to wait till new years day to call my mom, so it doesn’t appears that i called her after my earlier calls to my mom. She is trying to prevent my mom from alienating her too. She promised to let me know as soon as she calls her. She also said that when my mom and her talked after christmas my mom had mentioned that Pat (my mom’s boyfriend’s son) wanted my aunt’s address “to send her a christmas card”. My aunt and I both had the same thought about that, that maybe Pat wants to tell my aunt that my mom is not well.

My mom is a very stubborn woman, refuses to see doctors, and can be extremely difficult (obviously, right?) … if we need to get her into a hospital it is going to be a big major task and is going to get very ugly very fast. I am just a big mess over it, it has weighed me down emotionally all day. It breaks my heart, and it kills me the way she has shut me out, when I have been the one who has made the effort all these years. My mom doesn’t like me. I am too much like my aunt, and that bothers her. She always envied my aunt, still calls her ‘the prodigal daughter’ when talking about her sometimes. And I have always been very much like my aunt personality-wise. I tried over the years multiple times to have a relationship with my aunt but my mom stomped on it every time. Today my aunt told me that over the past year or two my mom has called her Angela multiple times.

I am really worried that dementia is setting in or has completely settled in to my mom. Her boyfriend is 80 something years old and has health problems, probably wouldn’t know if she was well in the head or not. So that leaves me feeling even more worried, especially after talking to my aunt today. I don’t know what I am going to have to do but I have a feeling that there will be something that needs to be done to get my mom some help. She is going to fight me tooth and nail. This is not me thinking negative, this is me being realistic.

It’s been rough on me for a long time now, and today it got a lot worse because things were different with the phone call.