All About Perspective

Last week, on the way to the optometrist, I took Mom to the beach in Niantic for an hour.

This is Mom at the beach

She doesn’t remember any of it.  Not the trip to the optometrist, not the eye exam or multiple tests, not picking out frames for her new lenses, and definitely not the beach.  Yet she still recalls the Renaissance Faire without difficulty.

Anyway, this week we were scheduled to go pick up her glasses, so I decided to do a bit of the same.  We did lunch at When Pig’s Fly…

Mom at When Pigs Fly

…picked up her new glasses…

…and sat on the beach for an hour.  Literally sat, by the way.  Her left leg grew fatigued about halfway along and she did a slow-motion drop to the sand.  Fortunately, the sand was soft, the sun was warm, and the breeze benign, so I sat down beside her to watch the waves, the gulls, the fishing loon.

She grows quiet on the beach; introspective and thoughtful although not quite adept at voicing her thoughts.  Finding words to express herself is becoming increasingly difficult.  She talks about the number of shells, picking and pocketing them like a little kid.  She wants to roll down the beach to the water and have it bear her away.

I’m not thrilled with being my mother’s caretaker.  It’s hard work and Alzheimer’s is a total bitch of a disease.  It steals so much…but it offers gifts, too, in it’s way, like those moments on the beach when I wouldn’t change a thing, when I experience a total quality moment with my mom, something we never had when I was growing up and something I’d have missed out on if I hadn’t taken her in.  We talk more — about the past and people she’s known, about where the future is taking her; she shares her frustrations more than she once did, and she laughs easily, content and safe in my company.  If these are to be my last memories of her, then I’m content as well.



About Melissa Crandall

Longer ago than I care to admit--although I will--I cut my writing teeth on fanzines and media tie-in novels. Since then, I've moved on to narrative nonfiction, speculative fiction, and essays. I write to explore and understand the world around me, the things I see and experience nearby or from a distance. If I shake myself up, cool. If I shake you up, even better. Not gratuitously--what's the point in that?--but to set what I know, or think I know, on end and realize, "Well, doesn't it look different from this side!" My work is neither sexually explicit nor graphically violent. Let's face it - your imaginations will come up with things far worse than anything I could write, no matter how descriptive. Besides, it's just not my thing. I live in Connecticut with my supportive husband Ed, a cat named Ruby who might just think she's a dog, and an epileptic Australian shepherd named Holly who isn't quite certain anymore who she is, except she knows she loves her mommy.
This entry was posted in Aging, Alzheimer's, Caretaker, Family, Life, Mother and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to All About Perspective

  1. Well said! Your Mom looks very happy.

    • Thanks, Sue. I believe she is. She says she is, at any rate. I think there are times she is sad…it’s only been six months since my Dad passed and I know she misses him. She misses “her house” (although she doesn’t remember the house she lived in most recently, but the one before), and there’s that sense of lost independence, but she’s happy and grateful to be around people she knows and loves who care about her.

  2. John says:

    All About Perspective is spot on and you’ve expressed it beautifully.

  3. Adina says:

    Let me wipe of my eyes. What? I had something in my eye.

    The most important thing I learned over the years is that there is no way to be a perfect woman (mother, daughter, wife) but a million ways to be a good one.
    You are my hero Melissa.

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