My mom has abandonment issues, she's had them since she was 6 when she lost her dad to pneumonia.
At the age of 14, her mother was committed to a mental institution, her sister too... this happened after her brother was killed in action in World War II. She was left, alone with her brother Al, both living with relatives, never feeling that they had a home or a family to love as their own.
It's because of my mom's history, the tough knocks that she had in life, that I vowed to care for her after my dad died of pancreatic cancer in 1979, one week before her 50th birthday. In a sense, my dad abandoned my mom when he died so young at the age of 49, no wonder she hallucinates about him constantly.
She's always seeing dad, he appears everywhere, in Whole Foods, in trees, in parking lots and every day at 4:30, in our backyard when he drives the bus down from Heaven to pick up all the children who had been trapped in Purgatory.
Dementia seems to amplify all of her psychological issues, issues that have been suppressed through out her life. My mom is insecure and easily frightened when things in her environment change quickly. Any abrupt changes bring on behavior issues, roaming, sleep disturbances and more vivid hallucinations.
How to pull the pieces back together and create peace...
First, I do need to be calm myself, I know that my mom can feel my energy. If I'm happy, she's happy, if I'm upset, she's upset. Remaining calm, cool and collected when exhaustion has taken control is challenging.
Practicing deep breathing helps me to help myself. It relaxes me and helps me to restore peace in my own mind. When I am in a peaceful state of mind, it's easy for me to lead my mom into the same place.
I sing. Even when I am not feeling in a singing mood, I sing anyway. I find one of those earworm songs, a song that plays over and over in my head ... I sing and hum out loud. My mom loves to hear me sing because she associates my singing with peace and happiness. Yay!
My mom, she listens to music. I turn on Pandora radio, put in her favorite artist and music plays, music that she loves to sing along to. Jason Mraz is her favorite.
I cook. I create recipes, using ingredients that I have on hand, recipes that help my mom with all that ails her. I use all natural ingredients, cooking everything from scratch, never using anything in a box or with preservatives.
Over the course of the last 2 and a half years, by using food as medicine, we have been able to help reverse my mom's diabetes. It was miraculous how quickly her blood sugar was balanced once she stopped consuming sugar free products with aspartame and processed foods. I have observed that when she eats anything processed, she has dementia episodes that are scary to her and me. Solution? Avoid those foods that disrupt the peace.
I am committed to creating delicious and nutritious food for my mom and my family. We are all healthier.
I exercise. I get out and walk and move. I breath the fresh air while closing my eyes, recalling memories of vacations that I had taken over the years. The memories of Hawaii, Alaska, England... all of these memories can be relived with a thought.
Lastly, I pull weeds in my garden. Yanking weeds is symbolic of pulling the weeds from my life. Each weed is a trouble, once it's pulled, it's gone. Peace is quickly restored in my life, giving me the strength to continue in my role as Care Giver.