It was a bittersweet experience when visiting Mom in Kansas City. She is suffering from Lewy Body Dementia (LBD). I didn’t know if Mom recognized me or what she was feeling or thinking. I tried to put myself in her position, and if she could communicate, this is what I imagined her saying.
Message from Mom:
I used to be the Mom of this family. LBD is in charge of my body and mind and has turned me into an infant. Now I’m the baby of the family.
My daughter, Pat, spoon-feeds me what suspiciously looks like baby food, sweet potatoes whirled in a blender.
My son, Tom, bundles me in a blanket and walks me around the neighborhood in a wheelchair that looks like a stroller.
My daughter, Denise, spreads my youthful Irish face with lotion and applies lipstick.
My daughter, Kate from Denver, repeatedly says in a loud voice, “Mom, this is Kate, your oldest daughter.” I am not deaf, but everyone talks to me as though I am.
The "hired help" change my diapers and bathe me.
My words come out like baby talk as they struggle to understand. It is easier to remain quiet, but sometimes I articulate a five-word lucid sentence, and everyone is surprised.
“They came out real cute,” I utter when shown a photo of my grandchildren.
“We need a professional here,” when my daughter, who is not a beautician, attempts to cut my hair.
All my kids try to get a laugh or a smile out of me, their former Mom. I’m no longer the Mom but the baby of the family. I must now rely on them to mother me.
Book: Mothering Mother by Carol O’Dell