"Dementia Diary" Excerpt Continued
The changes that Minnie was experiencing must have frightened and worried her. For the past few years, her highs had become much too high, her lows were severe and self-destructive, and she surely felt a loss of control.
She began to malign life-long friends and family members for hurts both real and imagined. Even siblings were not excluded from her wrath. Neither was her only son. Minor affronts became major issues.
“Ma,” I asked following an incident in which she was especially rude to her sister, “Why did you treat Charlotte so badly? She’s been so supportive of us during this mourning period, so sensitive and kind.”
“What do you mean ‘us’?” Minnie answered with fire in her eyes.
“I mean you and me, Mom. I’m talking about our loss.”
“In the first place, I can treat anyone any way I like. I’VE lost my husband and I’m entitled to grieve.”
“Yes, but grieving doesn’t give us license to be unpleasant to people, especially those who love us and wish us well.”
“Again with the ‘us.’ I’m the one who lost my husband, so everyone can just get off my back.”
“I understand that you lost your husband, Ma, but I had a loss too. I lost my Dad.”
She looked stunned at this realization. “Yes,” she allowed. “I guess you did. But it’s not the same thing. I loved Sidney. What will I do without him?”
“I loved him too, Ma. I miss him terribly already…”
“Okay, okay, but you’ll get over it. I won’t.”
Excerpted from Dementia Diary, Copyright © 2010 by Robert Tell, All Rights reserved.