The struggle continues living with mom, but every time I seem to reach an impasse, some little bit of wisdom trickles in, and I turn a corner.
Every Sunday I drive mom to church and drop her off and when the service is done, I pick her up.
Every Sunday, she tells me that she will pray that I return to The Church, as if that is God himself. Sometimes I just nod to avoid an argument, sometimes I try to explain my spirituality, sometimes I get mad because after explaining my relationship with God, she still calls me a heathen. Then she steps out of the car with bad feelings, I feel bad as I drive away, and the issue is never resolved and it's a lose-lose situation.
I've come to realize that mom is now incapable of rational argument and discussion. She no longer can understand the intricacies, convolutions, and nuances of a lively debate or even a normal conversation. When I tell her something, it has to be simple and to the point. She not only doesn't remember that we had the religion discussion last Sunday, she doesn't remember the discussion we had THIS Sunday. What she does remember is that I make her feel bad. She doesn't remember any discussions we have about anything, she only remembers how she feels after we're done talking,
right here, right now.
So when she asks me a thousand times, when is my niece moving to her new home, and for the 1000th time I yell in an exasperated tone of voice, JULY 18th!!! she doesn't remember I already told her, she just knows I'm yelling at her for no reason and it makes her feel bad.
I have to start communicating for an outcome of feelings, not an understanding of words. My dog can convey everything she feels, without a single word. She can say I love you, where are you going, I'm hungry, I'm bored, I'm scared, I'm having fun, just by her body language. And I always respond, not with words, but with actions that make her feel good.
It's kind of like communicating with an infant. They don't know what you're saying, they only know how you make them feel. That's what I have to start doing with mom. It's not about the words, which are forgotten immediately, it's about the feelings that she never forgets.
So much to learn on this journey. But I find the lessons I learn here, I use everywhere in my life. Actually, who really remembers everything we talk about with our friends. We mostly remember how we feel when we are together with them. So is it really about old age, or is it just right human relations.