Lately, my Mom has been calling, asking about Dad - have I called the hospital, do I know where he is, why did no one tell her that he died, was there a funeral Mass, did they sing the Panis Angelicus. It happens mostly toward the end of the day, once in a 3 am phone call. I can usually walk her back, but sometimes she gets angry with me, and hangs up on me.
After the 3 am call, I made an appointment with her doctor and sent him an email describing the events, knowing that he would tell me it is a progression of the dementia. We kept the doctor’s appointment (without drama), and she got annoyed with me that the doctor was talking with me, so I stood up and said, “You’re right, you should talk to him without me in the room answering for you.” I went back to the waiting room while she had her check-up. The doctor came out and said that she is sundowning, getting facts and events muddled late in the day when she is overly tired. I saw this happen with my mother-in-law early in her dementia and understand how frustrating it can be for both parties.
Yesterday, I took Mom to visit a cousin of mine who had had surgery, the only daughter of her favorite sister. We had a very nice visit, not overly long, then went to lunch. Last night, Mom called me, looking for Dad. I have mastered the calm, gentle recitation of the facts, answering each of her questions honestly and quietly, pulling memories from her until she is calm and less frantic. At the end of last night’s conversation, she said, “Thank you for being so patient with me.”
She knows, and it breaks my heart.