For a while now, my grandma has referred to me as “Mom.”
Not directly TO me, but when she tells others about the person who is taking care of her, that’s what she says.
This week it clicked.
My grandma is constantly time traveling between the here and now and a chapter of her life where I hadn’t even been thought of yet.
I realized that often when she talks to me on the phone, she believes she is speaking with her mom.
The other night, Grandma went to bed and she said she needed to call her mom. I freaked out because I knew she was going to be calling me, and I still had to do the dishes. I helped her into bed and started washing the dishes. Sure enough, my phone started ringing in the other room. Thankfully she didn’t hear it. Once I was safely in my car, I called Grandma… and this time, I knew she thought she was talking to her mom. I had to laugh. It felt like I had just lived out a sitcom episode.
Last night, I talked to my grandma when she got home from her Bible Study and told her I’d see her in the morning. She called me back a little later to tell me about talking to Rachel and asked me to call and wake her up at 9:00. I couldn’t help but start giggling uncontrollably. The thought of playing the role of Jennie cracked me up.
So all this time, the lady who has been waking her up every morning and talking to her before she goes to bed… and setting up her pills and doing her shopping and everything else… is her mom.
Calling me “Mom” is her brain’s attempt to make sense of me and why I’m on the scene. She knows I take care of her, and she knows we’re very close.
In grandma’s dementia brain, that feeling is the one only Mom can give you.
I am very familiar with that feeling.
This week I very suddenly and unexpectedly lost my own mom.
She went to work on Monday and suffered a catastrophic hemorrhagic stroke. She passed on Tuesday.
Everyone has been asking me how I’m doing.
Remember as a kid when your mom told you to stay close at the grocery store?
I constantly and deliberately disobeyed my mom’s instructions (what can I say, I was a Strong-Willed Child).
Once when I was little I wandered off in the grocery store to go look at the toys. I couldn’t find my mom and I was so lost.
That’s how I feel right now.
As a woman, your mom is normally the first person you call in times of trouble.
This week, I finally understand why my grandma sees me as her mom. It is a bittersweet feeling.
Please pray with me for comfort, peace and strength as I brave ahead on this journey with my grandma while grieving my sweet mother. It’s not easy to hear the M word right now.