My brother is on his way into town. My dad is taking a much needed vacation with his sisters and cousin and will be gone for a week. My brother and his family are coming to stay and help out with Mom while he's gone.
Over the past couple of days, in preparation of his arrival, I was reflecting on how much Mom has changed in just 3 months, since Joe last saw her.
The most obvious change is that Mom is now in diapers full time; Joe knows about that. I've related the shower struggles and the ever-increasing loss of words and language.
But then there are the changes that we don't talk about daily. These are the changes that happen so gradually that it's hard to remember precisely when it started.
Mom no longer changes into pajamas at night. In fact, she no longer changes at all. She used to change her clothes if she didn't like my wardrobe selection for her; not anymore. She stays in the same clothes until someone changes her and requires full assistance to get them off and on.
Mom only has 3 names left in her vocabulary: Bud, Cassandra and Ellen. I don't know if she remembers who my sister is or any of the grandkids (I think she knows that they belong to me). But the only names and the only people she ever asks for is my dad, my aunt and myself. I think it's a little strange that she still remembers Ellen but not Claudia (her other sister). Claudia comes over weekly to sit with her; Ellen has been over twice over the past 4 years. I assume it has to do with her obsession to walk to Ellen's house. It is the one ritual that she has left and holds onto.
Mom doesn't put any make-up on anymore, not even blue eyebrows. She tries sometimes, but it's hard to put on lipstick when the lid is still on the tube. Every once in a while she might get a bottle/container open and she'll end up with eyeshadow or lipstick smeared across her whole face. Toothpaste seems to be her favorite choice of moisturizer.
I am with Mom nearly everyday, so the changes aren't as obvious to me. I wonder what it must be like to come and see her after being away for a few months. I am nervous for what lies ahead this week; worried if my brother can handle it all. But also, I'm so relieved that they will be here to help with Mom and to share responsibility with me. At least I know that we are all in this together!
Here's hoping that my dad has a restful, stress-free, fun week away! He sure deserves it! If you're reading this, Dad, don't worry-we've got this! Also, put away your phone and go have fun! ;)