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  • Writer's pictureLickety Glitz

Erasing Her

Updated: Oct 22, 2020

Am I? Erasing her?

She requires less of me physically. As Mom moves more into the next world she is becoming indifferent as to what is happening in this one, including her daughters smiles, goofy dances, attempts to engage her.

Sometimes she is still our shadow; bumped into every time The Other Girl and I turn around.

But more often than not she is equally as placated shuffling "The Loop" - bedroom to front stairs to living room to kitchen.

She stops to move furniture here and there, babbles to the Mirror Lady at the end of the hall, transports bedding, placemats, boxes of tissues from one room to the other. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

I use this new focused meandering of hers to focus on tasks I would not have been able to accomplish six months ago. I sit in the office, uninterrupted, pay her bills, monitor her financials, call her doctors. I forget she shuffles unceasingly.

Am I erasing her?

She requires more of me emotionally. As her eyes vacate this reality, peering into her otherworld future, I shrink from the weight of the looming loss.

She rarely eats on her own now. Her utensil, bereft of food, is slowly waved around as if a magic wand able to transform the present or ward off the upcoming finality. It does neither. Often cutlery is escorted to parts unknown in the house, retrieved from under the bed, found in a cupboard, or plunged into a sofa cushion, no longer required to perform their original function; fork to plate to food to face.

In the mornings I cozy up to her at the table, spoon feeding her oatmeal with cheerful, red raspberries that hide her pills. At times I am tired, sloppy. Oatmeal dribbles down her chin, plops in her lap. If Barnaby Bones is lucky, a thick clump hits the floor at his feet.

She is unaware of this pitiful picture of herself.

It is a scene that would break hearts, but mine does not. It succumbs to a fleeting sadness, but it is steeled against a rupture.

Am I erasing her?

Humor rarely engages her. Her brand of self-deprecation that continued to shine throughout this journey dims daily.

My cursing and burping, two sure-fire methods of invoking her naughty self to giggle, go unheeded. I have become silent. "If a joke is told in dementia and no one can comprehend it, is it funny?" I realized today that my subconscious has declared "Why bother?"

Am I erasing her?

I do right by her. She is clean, she is fed. She is well rested, has regular bowel movements, takes her pills on time, has her drink glass filled before it is empty to combat hydration, varies her day with long drives, is provided opportunities to socialize which, depending on the day, she may or may not be able to experience.

But I have been unknowingly courting apathy. Using it to shape the bricks to build the walls to protect me from the pain of losing her.

Or maybe... Mom still has a mother's instinct to disappear into the background slowly, ensuring an easier, final transition for both her daughters.

I don't think so.

I fear.

I am already.

Erasing her.

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