It's a funny thing about the human mind and how it works. When children are young they need to be molded and taught how to think, reason, and process information so that they can function in the world. Their personalities and wills have to be disciplined so that their reason eventually triumphs over the impulses of their lower natures. (Hey MK that sounded pretty good didn't it?) Later in life especially when afflicted with a disease that breaks down all of that training it is an interesting and often frustrating thing to watch the reverse become true.
By now anyone reading my blog knows that my Mother has dementia (or senile dementia as it used to be called) and my husband and I have packed up our lives to move south to care for her. What a mind blowing situation and also how self-revealing!
The woman who used to epitomize control, and yes at times coldness, is now the epitome of childishness and irrational behavior. She operates completely on impulse and desire and it is often a shock to me to witness. A good example would be when we took her for groceries shortly after arriving in the southland. My mom was in search of a particular kind of cracker that she not only liked but hoarded like Scrooge hoards his gold. We got to the section of the cracker isle of Bi-Lo where they could be found and she proceeds to open a box to make sure that the contents are what she wants. I was not only shocked but stunned into silence (yes Kraeger children you read it here). When I found my voice I hissed at her, "Mother you cannot do that!" Her response was equally emphatic, "But I want to." When she determined that those were indeed the crackers that she wanted she put the opened box back on the shelf and selected two identical unopened boxes and put them in the cart. When I took the box that she had opened off the shelf to put in the cart she was adamant about not buying "damaged" packaged. My mother would not hear of the fact that she was the one who had "damaged" that box of crackers. I can tell you that when I was a child I would have been slapped and roundly scolded for even touching anything in the store let alone opening a box of crackers.
I don't record these illustrations to mock or to make my mother look bad though. The disease is so totally in control of this woman that I am daily convinced that there is little or none of my mother left in there. Granted we occasionally see clues that she is very much there. Though she has only called me by name twice since we have been here her treatment of me has been characteristic of a lifetime of animosity against women. By the same token, though she continues to call my husband by my late father's name, her reaction to him has also been characteristic of her reaction to the men in her life. I expect that in the future as she deteriorates further my mother will completely disappear and the disease will take over completely. Until then I will try to laugh when things are amusing and find something amusing when things are frustrating. God bless my dear husband for his continued love and patience in this situation.