Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Day to Day with Schizophrenia

Sometimes each day seems so long. Sometimes I wonder if we're going to make it through each minute. Picking Mom up from the nursing home, to take her out to Pizza Hut, is supposed to be fun for her. She wants to go. She begs to get out. Okay, she begs to go home to her orange house that she sold almost twenty years ago. Man, I hate the color orange!

She turned 63 last month. Her favorite foods are pizza or liver and onions. Guess which one we picked for her birthday dinner? All four of my natural children showed up. It turned out to be a really fun outing. But that's not how it started.

We had to convince her that my brother (44) and cousin's son (19 or 20) were not toddlers crying for her to stay with them. She could hear them crying and asking her not to leave them behind. We (my oldest son and I) wanted to cry with her. Our eyes connected and held, both blinking back luminous moisture. Mom's worry and tears were real even if the toddlers weren't. She had mixed dates and people in her head.

Another time we had to convince her that no one was waiting outside at nearly midnight to pick her up. She could hear him calling to her and telling her that he would be late to work if she didn't come now.

Kristy asked if my mom was still alive. Yes, but she lives in a past that's very confused. Molly asked if she could be healed. No (unless God chooses to perform a miracle), her brain is dying from the inside out. We have CT Scans showing the progress. Sometimes it's not fun to see something so concrete as proof and sometimes it helps me know the whole thing isn't her fault.

Several people privately encouraged me and wondered about my guardian status. I'll talk more about that in upcoming entries. For now though, being a guardian is easier than being a daughter. At least I can be more objective with that hat on. I go into a sort of business mode. As a daughter, my heart alternately aches, steams, and softens. I see her physical and mental state degrading and her conversation continues to worsen because she can't follow a train of thought.

I fought for her sight and lost. Nurses tell me how nice she is (most of the time), but I remember another side of her. That's the hardest part, controlling the memories. I have to separate the past from the present. This is made easier because she looks so very different. She looks more like 83 than 63. She looks ravaged. I'll have to learn how to post scanned photos. My mother was once a very beautiful woman.

Funny aside, my dad said he'd recognize "that woman anywhere." At my son's graduation, he definitely didn't. Sorry Dad, but it was pretty funny.

Most of all, thank you to all of you for sharing your experiences with me publicly and privately. Please continue. We can make a difference if we are not afraid to be who we are. We can make a difference if we allow God to use the broken vessels of our families as well.

Could you be objective if necessary to make decisions for your parents? Why or why not? Or please feel free to continue sharing other thoughts and questions about these posts.

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