There's a whole lot of her missing.
Gone. All gone.
It started with the Oscar nominations last week. My zeal for dragging Mom to various theaters in an effort to gauge her dementia Oscar picks, plopping her down in a seat, and keeping a wary eye on her should she attempt a great escape or steal a theatre-going neighbor's popcorn - gone. All gone.
A year ago last night was the ice storm that knocked out our power for a week, had me scrambling for heated shelter for one rascally old dementia lady and myself, and morphed into the beginning of the end of our journey.
Tomorrow is Mom's birthday. Our Valentine's baby. The task of planning something special to honor her - gone. All gone.
A year ago she no longer recognized her birth day, her surroundings were unfamiliar (my friend's home I had scored to keep her warm), nor the face of our host as he did a birthday dance with her in what was literally our temporary shelter from the storm.
True to her nature, however, she noshed chocolate cake with fervor that evening, soothing the anxiety dementia had frosted over the day.
Three days from now she will fall. She will be taken to the hospital for a fractured hip, kept medicated to keep her from resuming her continuous pacing, the daily tottering routine that is one of her few acts of solace anymore. Six days from now she will finally be back home, the hospital bed taking up residence in her once again electrified and heated front room, her loved ones parading in and out of her field of vision. Perceived? Perhaps. Or at least accepted as a thing that happens when you are forced to cease your endless shuffling in and out of the lives of others.
Twelve days from now her appetite will indicate that she's in a fighting mood. There will be talk of physical therapy.
Sixteen days from now she will begin choking on food, liquid. Our hospice bath aide will be surprised at her decline in the few days since her last visit. We will be told that active dying has begun.
Nineteen days from now the concept of "death plateau" will be introduced to us as Mom stalls out, neither moving on to her next adventure nor gaining momentum to continue this one.
Twenty three days from now Mom will be dead.
Gone. All gone.
My mind has been swirling with these ghoulish anniversaries. I miss my movie-going pal, although the last couple of years I was mostly just annoying the crap out of her with each outing. I guess growing up with the parental attitude of "Toughen up! It ain't gonna kill ya!" had me taking my revenge by occasionally inflicting the same mindset on my dementia mom.
I miss getting to see her best pals, and my wonderful family, on her birthday, and yeah, the decadent chocolate cakes that we justified scarfing down because... well... she loved 'em!
And I don't know why with each new day I'm stepping through last year's trauma that was the ice storm and the subsequent end of our physical time with Mom.
To torture myself? Or to help me process my grief? The weight of it doesn't feel helpful, but maybe that's the point.
I dunno. I do know there's a whole lot of her missing right now, and I don't know what to
do with that.