Going Down the Rabbit Hole With Mom

In the beginning, we were both on solid ground, but soon she started over the edge, ever so subtly, and everyday she slips a little bit more.

When Mom first started down the Hole, I was determined to stay on top and keep her there with me. I held on fiercely to branches and grasses; I had to keep my reality alive.

It was a fierce struggle but it wore me out, holding both of our weights. The farther she slipped, the harder it was to hold on to her, and finally she started to take me with her.

At first, I was oooh-sooo angry. I kept clamoring to get back on top. I saw my world slipping away and I was going deeper into her world. Nothing was making sense.

She spoke of things that didn't exist, told stories that went nowhere, told me things over and over, couldn't hold a thought, made up memories, told of things to come that never will. The Hole had completely become her world and I was now in it with her.

As we continue to fall, my struggle is over. I see her visions as we pass them. There he is, the Mad Hatter, the tea party, the White Rabbit. Eat Me and grow smaller, Eat Me and grow taller. There now is the Red Queen and her Court of Cards. We're playing croquet with storks as mallets and hedgehogs as balls.

Mom is sitting here with Macular Degeneration, half-blind, and slowly losing her mind.
Mom will not awake from this dream as Alice did. But I will. When she is gone, I will wake up on the ground, intact, under the trees and I will shake my head like Alice and realize it was all just a different dream.

So I try to enjoy the fantasy trip as we fall. Perhaps I can have a cup of tea or paint a rose bush along the way.

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So well describes what we are all going through!
by: Ken

Your little story, so much describes just what I have been going through.

Mom has been losing it little by little, and my own sense of reality is beginning to slip along with hers. It is so difficult caring for someone who is living in their own little world.

They drag you into it, with them. I have always hated when people said " just go along with it". They don't realize that you start losing your own grip on reality, when you do!

great analogy
by: Dianna

This was a great analogy for what so many of us are going through. You keep trying to hold on and then you must accept the new normal.

Being the caretaker I struggle with keeping a good perspective and taking time to clear my head so as not to go down the hole with her. This is difficult! Thanks for sharing...I wish you brighter days!

The Rabbit Hole
by: BH

What an apt description. As lighthearted as one can interpret your words, as a caregiver I know all too well the ups and downs.

I'm glad you have a realistic attitude in spite of your situation. Bottom line, what else can we do unless we just put our loved ones in nursing homes - everybody's greatest fear as they age (including mine).

The first 6 months adapting to Mom living with me was the hardest - for her and me. We'd both learned to enjoy our loneliness and were suddenly thrust into a situation where she had to depend on me - her most defiant child. I can only imagine she was scared I would whip her into compliance if she dared challenge me on anything.

Fortunately we've never had any such outbursts only because we're grown women trying to make the best out of a difficult situation.

I did fall into a period of terrible bitterness and anger though, because having my life so upset seemed unfair. It didn't occur to me, at the time, how upset my mother was with her life.

I've made MANY adjustments to suit our needs and keep us both as sane as possible. The most fortunate part is my siblings willingness to help me - now that I've learned to ask!

With their encouragement, I've also learned to get away sometimes for a few days. I felt guilty doing it at first but it's been a true source of relief. Especially when I go hang out with people my age or younger (like g'kids) because I'd become like my mother - "old".

I've learned to rely on meditation and mindfulness for relaxation too and I've even found books that inspire my mother to be happier within herself.

Over all, that is the greatest thing I can share - how important it is to work on your OWN well being so you can, then, help someone else better. It's a lot of work but it is so worth it.

I'm so lucky that Mom doesn't have Alzheimer's or dementia. She can't hear real well and usually won't put her hearing aids in, but I make light of that by helping her understand some things by way of charades (which always end up making us crack up.)

She is almost 94 and her body is definitely failing her and I fear every day that she is going to take that one step that will cause her to fall. But she still cares enough to have a professional pedicure once a month and I figure that's pretty good for an old broad.

We've both come a long way ... me being resentful as hell for becoming her caregiver and giving up so much of my own time and privacy, and mom coming to terms with her own disappointments.

We both had to work at it, but it's reached a point where we're like an old married couple who tolerates one another out of pure respect.

My life is more limited because she lives here now, but some day I will be glad i participated in the end of her life.

Just do your best.

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