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  • Patty Smith Hall

Put your seatbelt on, Mom.

I spent the day with my mom yesterday. Every time I go--well, every morning really---I wake up and the first thought that comes to mind is 'Please, Lord, let Momma have a good day. A good day for someone with dementia means less confusion; it means they remember who you are and your relationship to them. It means less mood swings and tears.


Yesterday wasn't a good day.


It started out okay. I got to Mom's earlier than usual because Daddy wanted to ride around with Uncles Morris and Bob. Mom was already dressed which usually means she's feeling good. There have been times I arrived at her house to find in a shirt four sizes too big and a capris. But today, she looks great. After a quick bathroom break--I have an hour long drive--we head out. We're backing out of the driveway when an alarm goes off. I glance at her and notice she doesn't have a seatbelt on.


"Mom, you need to put you seatbelt on."


She does, but I could tell the alarm flustered her. Once she's buckled in, we head toward the local Longhorns for our usual salad and baked potato. Mom is less talkative since the dementia started so I place our order then fill the silence with news about the girls and Danny. I tell her how Carter loves to go to church and how my soon-to-be grandson won't let the sonogram technician take his picture. Sometimes, I'm quiet, uncertain if all the information is making her even more confused. But then Mom will ask me how the girls are and I repeat everything all over again. Once we pay our bill, we get back in the car. And again the alarms goes off.


"Mom, let's buckle you in."


The hardest days are like today when she understands what is happening to her. She gets pensive and teary-eyed, wishing that we could go back to when Grandma was alive. Then the tear begin to fall, and all I can do is tell her I'll always be there for her no matter what. Because I love her.


This is the hardest thing I've ever had to go through. I already miss her in so many ways. I've been blessed with a mother who became my best friend.


And I will be there for her. To the end. No matter how much it breaks my heart.


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