Kind of fascinated with re-reading my LJ posts from the
Alzheimer's Years. Feeling very affectionate towards Past Alden. Poor kid. She was funny, too, and juuuuuuust slightly affected in her writing style. I blame England.
Every so often there are private-locked posts. These are usually the ones that describe family life the best.
2003-07-13: My father is in an awful mood (again), and he just came home with a watermelon, which he would like to cut open and eat. However, my mother removed all the knives from their holder two days ago, and she can't remember what she did with them. Truthfully, I don't think she remembers that she moved them at all.
Ah. They are found. I have been presented with a slice of watermelon, which is nice. It's just that I felt, when I was in the kitchen, as if I'd fallen down on the job by not keeping detailed notes on every strange thing my mother does.
Then, I'm not allowed to *tell* her they're strange things. For instance, my dad brought hamburgers home last week, and we were eating them for dinner. My mother came to the table with her hamburger, and she'd put it inside a teacup. A *teacup.* Instead of using a plate.
I suppose I should be glad that the Alzheimer's hasn't completely erased the urge to place hamburgers onto or inside of some sort of crockery, but... no. So I pointed out that a teacup was a bad idea. And I promise, I was nice about it. She proceeded to try to make me feel stupid for objecting to the teacup, and then moved on to telling me I'm too uptight because I won't let her break society's needless rules for not putting hamburgers into teacups. Then, she told me I was mean. She got up to go fetch something out of the kitchen, and my father hissed at me about leaving her alone and not upsetting her.
I kind of miss that version of me. Exasperated by everything, but observant and a much less "omg lol" sort of writer than I am now.
I also miss the security of being part of a family. Even a family in the middle of being ripped apart by a horrible disease. A family for which nothing at all was going to turn out right. We were still so close to being normal, back then. We could almost turn around and see our past selves, very nearly within reach. If we just tried harder, we thought we might be able to get our family back.
When Mom got sick, and we took her to all the doctors ever, I fought her illness hard
. Made her take the medicine that burned her stomach, dressed her, bathed her, made her practice reading and writing, bought music she'd liked as a younger woman to see if it helped stimulate her brain, tried aromatherapy. Everything I could do for her, I did, and that amazes me now. Why didn't I give up? Did I think I was going to save her from Alzheimer's? Did I think I could win?
In 2003, before I left grad school in England and became Mom's accidental caregiver, my friend Tony and I got incredibly drunk one night. We laughed about every possible thing, and then he insisted on a) wearing a fez whilst swanning about his fancy Durham student digs, and b) doing a Tarot reading for me.
It was an awful reading, and I found it sort of chilling (this may be because of the alcohol). "You usually win all your battles," Tony said. "But there's something big coming. You're not going to win this time."
I thought of Tony and his stupid damn prediction yesterday as I was driving to work. Ok, I didn't save Mom. I didn't beat her Alzheimer's. I definitely came out the other end of the ordeal a different person, damaged, less sharp, probably less smart, even. But... I still kind of won. Not the battle, but the war, you know?
I'm proud of what I did for her, and proud of who I was then. Definitely proud of who I've turned into, even if I miss the spark of my angsty, articulate, 26-year-old self.
I think Mom would be proud too.