When I came in to visit my mom I said hello and gave her a hug. She was always sitting at the table so I handed her a coffee as I sat down. She was lively and in conversation of sorts with the other residents at the table. She was talking to one of them and said, “You know my sister, right?” I looked at her, very confused, and she looked back at me and said, “Yes, this is my sister. This is Demi.” It took every ounce of my self control to hold back the tears. In a single instant my entire existence had been erased. 

That was one of the more difficult moments of this whole journey. The gravity of it didn’t settle in until later that day, since I had to put on a cheerful front in front of my mother and go along with the delusion. The saving grace is that she was happier to see me. There were no snide remarks on this visit. I was just going to have to get used to this, or perhaps I would be her daughter again on the next visit. There was no way to know. I had to go into each visit with no expectations because there was no way to predict what I would walk into.

This day weighed heavily on me. I had a harder time than usual focusing and when I said goodbye, the elevator door barely closed before the tears started to fall. I sat in my car in the parking lot afterwards and sobbed. I was lost, my heart torn in two. How was I going to deal with this. Here I was working so hard to help her and she decided I wasn’t even myself anymore. She had literally wiped me out of existence with just a few words. 

After the initial shock, which carried through the whole night, I somehow gathered myself together to visit her the following day. I went along with the delusion. I wasn’t able to call her Ma anymore, she wasn’t even Kay anymore, which she had been called as far back as I remember. She was now Cathy. So I had to go along with it. Calling my mother Cathy was very hard because it felt disrespectful, but what choice did I have? 


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