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  • Writer's pictureLickety Glitz

Anywhere but here...

Updated: Dec 9, 2020

Failure is not falling down, but refusing to get up.

- Chinese proverb

She looks at me with hatred in her eyes. I think that's a little harsh since all I'm doing is attempting to gently curl her fingers around her toothbrush so she can brush her teeth. She accompanies the hateful glare with the word "No!", hissed out fast like a balloon deflating backwards across a room. She tosses the toothbrush to the side of the sink. She shuffles away. In an instance I have ceased to exist for her, and will not resurface until I once again put my face in front of hers.

And I want to be anywhere but here.


She won't get out of the van. Pulls the door shut in answer to my coaxing. Looks at me through the passenger window, defiance cemented in her features. I open the door again, gesture with my hand, urge with my mouth, "Come on. Come on, Mom. It's warm inside." She looks away, pissed, but her body betrays her; pavement calls to feet, feet meet pavement. As we approach the door of the house which houses other dementia folks for a few hours of respite, she sputters rage incoherently, ending the fractured narrative with "...YOU!" then takes off running at a turtle's pace down the alley.

A chuckle begins to break from my lips as it's absurd she thinks she can get away from me, but quickly dies as embarrassment for her fills me with sorrow.

A few steps and I am next to her, softly turning her mind and body back to the house. Once inside, she is whisked off to hot cocoa and singing. A few feet behind her bright green jacketed back now circled in caregiver affection, I uncharacteristically crumble in a staff member's arms, small sobs threatening to become torrents.

And I want to be anywhere but here.


I have just finished an hour long battle to shower Mom. I won this time by taking the shower with her. It didn't make the actual showering part easier, but the novelty of me being in the shower while she stood alone outside the shower door tricked her into joining me. Then I spent 20 minutes naked and shivering while I put her needs first; got her toweled off, dressed, hair blow dried. Of all the things I've done for Mom because of dementia, for some reason this feels like a new low.

We are now both ready to head out the door. She pauses at the entry. I immediately tense up, waiting for the fresh wave of resistance I'm sure is coming. Instead she looks me in the eye and softly says, "Thank you." Relief floods my body as tears spring to my eyes. Content Mom has surfaced - hateful Mom has taken a backseat. I hug her and reply, "Thank you, Mom. I love you."

And I still want to be anywhere but here.

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