I am disgusted with myself. I am hungover. I am tired. I am a mess from a marathon session of unaccompanied debauchery the night before that lasted in to the wee hours of the morning. MotherMinder's mid-day departure is the only thing that rouses me from the bed covers. I make the transition from loathing myself horizontally to loathing myself upright.
Despite my foreboding her weekly shower has gone well; the stress for us both has dissipated. She is clean, she is dressed, she is ready for whatever day dementia will allow her.
I turn from her to make the bed then suddenly crumple on to it. I fight a shudder I cannot contain as it overtakes me. Unbidden tears cascade down my cheeks as my face contorts to embrace the sobs I am trying to quell.
I look up as she stands over me, "I don't know what I'm doing, Mom!" I know my eyes are pleading for motherly empathy for my plight or a motherly scolding for my self-indulgence - I could count on either reaction a decade ago.
I see her eyes cloud with sorrow, desperately searching for a maternal response. It's as if I'm watching a movie - "Old" Mom pushing through the crushingly dense fog of her brain, seeking her motherly instincts, fighting for purchase to break free and employ them. It is there, on the tip of her brain...
She knows she used to know what to do, but now hopelessly grasps at thin air. This crying person needs her, a person she suspects she loves, but she cannot comprehend what action, what words will comfort.
I understand in an instant I have plunged her into misery.
I look down to pull myself together, and look back up at her with an expression I hope is a smile but instead feels like an upturned grimace of pain.
No matter. "Now" Mom has come to her rescue, relieving "Old" Mom of the burden of memories she can no longer access, of emotions she can no longer express, of situations she can no longer react to.
I've never been so grateful to see "Now" Mom in my life.
"Now" Mom's eyes are free of trouble, my sorrows cease to drain her.
Instead, "C'mon" she says and takes my hand.