Parenting the Parent


As Martha and I go through the journey that is Alzheimers it becomes more evident that our roles have switched.  Looking into the past I realize I am now repeating much of my own Mother’s behaviors as a parent, on my own Mother.

I remember being a teenager and Mum repeatedly telling me to get out of bed.  I remember being a young child and staying up late in my room playing.  I remember learning to tie my shoelaces and how difficult that was.  I remember being panic stricken when I would get lost in the supermarket and the joy I experienced when I saw Mum again.   I remember being/feeling dependent on Mum and Dad for everything.

Martha is remembering and un-remembering.  I tell her to get out of bed, I repeat myself and become frustrated, I imagine she was frustrated with me when I wouldn’t get out of bed.  She stays up late conversating with herself and I remind her to sleep, over and over.  I attempt to reason with her on why sleep is important.  She no longer remembers how to perform certain tasks, tying shoelaces, putting on her seatbelt or opening jars.  I guide who through the process with the same patience she had for me.  I learnt and retained the information, Martha no longer does.  I see the panic in her eyes when she loses sight of me at the supermarket.  I see the joy in her smile when she finds me again.  She is safe.  She is dependent on me.  I am her life force.

I never thought I would be a parent at my age.  I get frustrated by her, I feel as if every time I speak to her its negatively, do this, do that, hurry up, quickly, shoes on, shoes off, hurry up!  Is this what parenting feels like? Self doubt? Am I doing it right? Am I screwing it up?

I love her.  An immense powerful love that brews deep in the heart, it is a love I have never experienced before.  Is this what parenting feels like? A love so strong you would give your own life?

I worry.  A constant nagging worry about her safety and wellbeing.  In my darkest moments, in my frustration, I worry.  Is she warm enough? Has she eaten enough? What else can I do? Is this what parenting is? Worry that moves you to your core.

I hold her hand, I kiss her forehead, I tell her I love her.  I give everything for her, I do everything for her.  I want her to be happy, safe, warm, loved.   Is this what parentings is?

KB x

‘If you resist it, it’ll be cruel to you, if you let it in, it’ll be magic!’

2 Comments on “Parenting the Parent”

  1. Beautiful and very moving. This is love at its finest, it nags, tugs, and pulls, at you. It’s completely selfish and demanding. Has you gasping for air after it’s tossed you overboard, and the only way to steer you back into control is out of your reach. You have to swallow the salty water whilst trying to gasp for air, meanwhile your riding the wave. The smallest of achievements set an array of butterflies within your heart. That gladly flutter toward the uncertain. It’s like getting goosebumps on a hot day. At times It’s driving blind. Then allowing yourself as a driver to make mistakes and choose alternative routes. After all you know how to drive but it’s the blind bit that’s the worry. No one said read the road code with your eyes shut unless you know how to read Brail. Special moments mould the heart. They carm the storm within. It’s the comfort of sunlight on your face to remind you of its warmth as a raincloud passes by. It’s the smile you see on your children’s faces and the feeling of there skin against yours when you go in for sticky kisses. This is my experience concerning parenting it’s all of these emotions bound up in a ball and many more. Yes it is an immense powerful love that brews in your heart. It’s the habit of throwing the life raft out for the just incase. It’s the fine tuned piano that suddenly loses it’s C Major learning how to adapt the song to a C minor doesn’t sound the same but could perhaps work? I hope that my reply gives you some comfort as I think your courageous. I’m tired and up feeding baby in need of a shower and something to eat have a tonne of jobs to complete before I shut my eyes. But then you know all to well the sacrifices that you have to make to look after someone else. Feeling tired with the waves of emotion is the penalty that’s endured. For with the silence of them tucked safe, and sound asleep in bed it allows you a few moments of peace in your head to reflect upon what you have learnt today and what you can possibly try tomorrow. It reminds you not to be to harsh on yourself as parenting is not a job for the lighthearted. Be kind to Yourself. You are doing the Best you can. Your very brave and sound incredibly strong. I can only hope that my own children will love me as unconditionally as you do Martha. May you both be blessed with strength and support on your journey.

    Love to you both.

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