Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Turning A Glorious Corner

So six days ago on March 13, I had my usual conversation with Mom where she told me she didn't understand why she just couldn't go home and was trying to figure out ways to escape and was mad at my younger sister for not taking her home.  She felt her kids didn't care about her and was her normal, sad self that she's been since we moved her into assisted living.

The very next day, March 14, it was like talking to a completely different person: she was happy and laughing and talking about how she'd lived at the facility for two or three years and liked it there and talked about her friends and shared an experience about visiting one of her friends in her room and the therapy dog coming to visit. She was laughing about it.
She talked about playing a game and winning. She was in a great mood and said she saw no reason to go back to her old place because no one was there anyway and she didn't even know if the house was there anymore.

She talked about having her own room and TV and said the place she was at wasn't too bad. She was looking forward to a Planetarium visit the next day.  She talked about how she and my older sister had gone on a fun drive (forgetting that it was actually a not-so-fun drive to the doctor).

She said she hadn't seen my younger sister in a while and that she had once asked her to take my mom home, but probably wouldn't now because "[my younger sister and her husband] need to live their own lives and don't need me hanging around."

She said she had lived at the assisted living facility before she lived there and would probably live there the rest of her life.

I am not sure what caused such an abrupt reversal in my mom, but it was so great to see her happy for a change.
 My biggest fear was that it would be temporary, but every day I've talked to Mom since then, she has said essentially the same thing: she's happy where she's living; it's her home; she has no reason to go back to where she used to live because nobody is there; she has friends where she is; and things are looking up.
 It's a miracle, and I credit God with helping her make a positive adjustment.  I also think there are things my family has done that have helped her become positive about her living arrangement.  Mom refers to a note my sister put up (based on another note my sister-in-law put up) essentially telling Mom this place is her home and that she lives there and that he family loves her.  
 Coincidentally (or not-so-coincidentally (I don't believe in coincidences)), the night before Mom's incredible change, I was on the phone for about an hour with a distant relative I went to school with who has been working with people in Mom's situation for ten years.  She offered a good picture of what we how we can expect Mom to be now and in the future  and things we can do to help her.  She actually offered some helpful suggestions, but one of the things she talked about was positive programming, and I believe the notes created by my sister and sister-in-law have been helpful in changing Mom's programming into something more positive.  
 Mom and I also had a conversation on the 13th where she had been depressed at the start of the call, and I steered her in a more positive direction by the end; I'd like to think that helped as well.
Whatever the reason, I so don't care.  It's just so nice to hear Mom be so positive about where she lives.  I must admit, she made me silently chuckle when she said a funny/not-so-funny thing.  In her excitement about her new digs, she said, "...and we get three meals a day here, and it's all free! We don't have a pay a thing!"

Oh, if you only knew, Mom. If you only knew.

Still, hearing my mom so happy and engaged is worth any price.  It's what I've longed for and it happened much sooner than I expected.  I hope it sticks.  It seems to be.


Dean Scott said...

This post makes me feel so happy for you and your family. Thanks for sharing.

Trev said...

Such happy news! I'm glad for you all.