Wednesday, January 13, 2010


Maybe it's the weather, or the post-holiday blues, but I'm not feeling especially cheery, and after talking to my mom last night, it's gotten worse...

I don't think I've updated about my Grammie lately, but her Alzheimer's is progressing, and it's not good. It's gotten to the point that she can't stay by herself at night, since she's sundowning quite severely. Dad has essentially moved back in with her, which in and of itself has had some good consequences: He gets it now. She's not getting better, and she's quite in the thick of it.

She's still constantly looking for her parents, and it's to the point that when Dad tells her they're gone it doesn't upset her anymore. Her snarky response is, "Well, he says they're dead, but I just talked to them, so I don't know what his problem is."

Since Dad moved in with her, she's shifted her time period. It's the first time in over 20 years that there's consistently been someone in the house in the evenings, and that's bringing her to when my Papa was still alive. Problem is, once she starts sundowning, she thinks Dad is Papa. It's to the point now where she doesn't understand why "Papa" isn't behaving the way he used to, and she thinks her husband is having an affair on her because he's acting so strangely. She goes to bed every night heartbroken.

The other sad, yet hilarious, thing that's happening is that she's mixing me up with one of her nieces-by-marriage (Dad's cousin) who is very disliked in the family, and whose father and husband have caused huge rifts that have been going on for decades. She thinks I'm her. When Dad talks to her about what N. is doing, she says, "Why the hell would you bother doing things for D. and her kids? No one will give a shit." It hurts Dad so much that she would confuse me with this woman, and while I understand why that would hurt him, to me it's just one of those things that you have to find the humour in.

My brother, who's home and in the middle of the warzone, says Dad is coming around - realizing we have to think about getting her placed in long-term care because having him around 24-7 is making her worse and stressing her out even more. It involves increasing the geographical area we're willing to have her placed while she waits for a spot close to home, and while it would mean transitioning her twice, it's probably going to be less stressful in the end than having Dad stay with her indefinitely.

This whole thing is wearing on me, and I wish I was home... I also wish I could bury myself in work and the apartment and not think about it, and it makes me feel worse that I actually have that option (when everyone at home can't get away from it). And I think it's affecting my hobbies, too...

The kits and things I ordered for that online sale arrived, and I started the project for my mom first thing. It's embroidery, which like knitting I learned at a very early age, but I now feel a compulsion to do it... My mother does mostly everything (knitting, sewing, crochet, embroidery, needlepoint, cross-stitch, crewel work, etc), but my Grammie only ever did embroidery. She did the most beautiful tablecloth/napkin sets in gabardines of every color, but would get her sisters to crochet an edging, or Mom would sew some lace on. She made dozens and dozens of elegant bureau scarves and pillowslips, covered in roses and lilies and ribbons, and her satin stitch was flawless. For each of us grandkids, she made days-of-the-week teatowels, to be given to us at our weddings. Recently, Mom had been giving her little projects to keep her busy (napkins, teatowels, samplers), but she forgets how to choose colors, how to start and stop, and gets frustrated and upset.

When I was going through the parcel once it arrived, I looked carefully at everything as it came out of the box. One kit is for a tree skirt for me and the boys, and it has a significant amount of embroidery in a zillion colors. The project for Mom is mostly in blues, but has huge huge skeins of floss to complete all the embroidery.

And, without realizing it, I'd ordered half a dozen sets of iron-on embroidery transfers, that I sort of looked at in awe as I unpacked them. The invoice told me they were $1.50 each, so not a huge expense (and rather long-lasting, considering the transfer pencils you can buy these days). But why would I invest in iron-on transfers?

You see, I haven't done any embroidery in over 10 years.

Last night I worked on it while watching TV, and spent the whole time thinking, this is so nice and relaxing, and I could see how the patterns were transferred, and how nice it'll be once I finish it. I could see the usefulness in the piece as I was working on it, and then I saw the tablecloths that were used for years and years, under vinyl tablecloth covers, in our house and Grammie's.

I have to do it. I have to, because she can't.

1 comment:

Bezzie said...

Ugh. That is really tough. Mental degenerative diseases are the worst. YOur dad is a real trooper for moving back in w/her. I can only hope my boys would do that for me if I'm ever in your gran's shoes!