The difficulty of coping with an elderly, confused parent - a conversation I've found myself having quite often in recent years.
With Frederica, something about a lack former intimacy between us facilitated my confession about feeling resentment towards my mother; I suspected that Myra then, about two years ago, was far more capable than she allowed herself to be. (Scans and assessments indicated some fall off in cognitive function, but not as much as she complained of). And she certainly didn’t need the two sticks she insisted on. When angry she strode off without support... like when I so annoyingly pointed out that hers was a gilded life by comparison with those of the people I’ve worked with in the Kalahari desert.
Frederica raised an elegant eyebrow — And how did that go for you?
I laughed and show her my ‘knife’ wounds.
Frederica refers me to a TEDX talk, ‘The Power of Connection’, by clinical psychologist, Hedy Schleifer, who like me, had a hero mother * she felt she was losing to dementia.
It resonated with me so I'll list some learnings:
So, before ringing Myra’s doorbell, I mentally discarded my suspicions, grudges, resentments and agenda, and stepped in just as her daughter. No baggage.
You know what? It worked.