Coloring Together / Thoughts on Dementia

My favorite pictures I snapped this week are from coloring with my mom this afternoon.img_6042img_6032

Every time I try to write about Mom’s dementia, I just can’t do it. It’s part of why I stopped posting on my last blog – when things with her got bad, I would try to write about it, I would struggle to find the words, and I would decide that I didn’t want to share about it after all. Because it sucks! Today, I spent an hour helping her pack for her & Dad’s next work trip. It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be, but it is always difficult to watch her struggle so much with basic tasks & decisions.

There’s a very strange conflict of feelings when it comes to spending time with my mom. I want to spend as much time with her as I can, but it’s so difficult. I almost always have myself a big cry after spending time with her. For my emotional health, I have to find ways to distract myself from what’s going on, because If I dwell on it all the time, I get depressed and I don’t function very well. But I don’t want to ignore my mother.. I love her so much. That’s why this is so hard, I guess. There’s a lot of guilt wrapped up with it, and I hate that. There’s also a lot of bitterness. She is 55! She should not be dealing with this! Sometimes I get so mad when I think about all the vibrant, intelligent, middle aged (and older) women in the world. It’s not fair. I was supposed to have another twenty years of relationship & parental help from my Mom! Now I’m praying that we have twenty years, in which I’ll have to help her. Even typing that makes my heart ache and I can’t help but cry.

Geez, I didn’t mean to make this post so depressing. I wish I knew how to end on an uplifting note, but in this moment, I don’t know how to do that.

I will say, I did have a nice time coloring with her today. It’s really good to see her be creative.. that’s always been such a big part of her personality, so the fact that she can still enjoy it in this small way, is an encouragement. Also, I really love these photos of mom. I thank God that she is happy.

If you think about it, please pray for my parents. Mom had a rough week with sickness, and it’s exacerbating her dementia symptoms. I haven’t even touched on what my Dad is going through as her caregiver, but right now he’s completely overwhelmed with work & helping her. So yeah.. keep them both in your prayers.

24 thoughts on “Coloring Together / Thoughts on Dementia

  1. I wish there was something I could say that would uplift your heart and make the situation not as difficult. But I know there is not. All I can say dear cousin is that I love you and I always have your mother in my thoughts and prayers. I pray you have as many wonderful and sweet moments that you can with her to hold close to your heart.

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  2. Praying, Kelli. My heart aches for you and your family. I’m your mother’s age, and I am so moved and touched by this article. Thank you for sharing, and I commit to praying for you, your parents, and family daily.

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  3. Thank you for sharing this and how we can pray for you. I can’t imagine what that must be like, but I am praying for you as well. The beauty of the body of Christ is when one of our members is struggling,the rest of them can lift him (or her) up. Thank you for allowing its to lift you up in prayer.

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  4. Kelli, I’m praying for your parents and your whole family. I have a lot of experience with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease and am a certified specialist. I’m happy to be a sounding board or advice-giver if you ever need or want it. ❤️ I have some activities that you two might enjoy together, too, if you are ever looking for more ideas (the coloring is a fantastic activity!).
    Father God, I thank you for Kelli and her transparency, for her willingness to share her struggles and her joys so openly with others. I lift up her mama and ask that your hand would be on her, giving her many days of peace and clarity and joy with her family. For Kelli’s dad, I pray for him to be strengthened by you and for him to feel supported by those around him. For Kelli, I ask that you would be a balm to her soul and give her strength on the hard days. May their whole family feel your presence and grace as they journey through this fallen world, with their eyes fixed on your eternal hope. Amen.

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  5. My Grandma had dementia for the last decade or so of her life. This strong, witty, prayerful woman couldn’t even take care of herself anymore. My family used to visit her all the time in her nursing home, give her flowers, draw her cats and butterflies (her two favorite things), and just talk about our days to her. It was hard, but we tried to make the best of it. My Grandma was able to make peace with her situation in her moments of clarity. We found solace in that. I’m sorry that you’re going through this.

    I’ll be praying for you and your mom and dad, and I hope that you all stay joyful.

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  6. I can’t begin to say “I understand,” but my heart aches with you. You, your dad, and your brothers may feel like you’re on a rocky boat, but you’re not the only ship out at sea! You know what’s best for you but don’t be afraid to invest in professional help is you haven’t already. Love you! I love the Feener in you 🙂

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  7. Kelli, I’m so sorry about the sadness this struggle is causing you. I can’t begin to imagine how hate that would be, but you and your mother will definitely be in my prayers. Best wishes and blessings for both of you.

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  8. I cannot imagine how difficult it is to go through what you and your family are going through. But, I must say, you are a perfect picture of a caring daughter. The love you have for your mother, even when it is so incredibly hard on you, is absolutely beautiful. Praying for you and your family, that God can hold you in your hardest times, and that your mother keeps on with her beautiful smile, that actually looks a lot like yours, by the way. Keep up your strength, take care of yourself, and remember how strong you are. It takes an awful lot of love to care for a struggling family member like you are, and, although I don’t actually know you, I can tell that you are an amazing, brave, and caring person.

    You and your family are in my prayers and thoughts. Stay strong, and never apologize for being vulnerable. It is what makes us human.

    Sydnie Oleman.

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  10. I feel the same way with my mom, she doesn’t have any heath issues, but my dad passed away when I was 18 – I’m 21 now, and she isn’t old enough to have lost her husband. I find it hard to spend time with her too because she is very sad and her life has gotten really hard. I love her so much so I want to spend time with her and I know it makes her happier when I do. But I too often cry about it afterwards. She’s just so lonely and I feel like I’m the only friend she has, but realistically I can’t spend all my time with her or make my whole life revolve around her. I’m sorry that you have to go through this, and I hope that God will heal her or at least help you with the pain that comes with it. Lots of love for you.

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  11. This is so beautifully (and bravely) written – thanks for sharing with us. I lost one of my sisters to a brain tumour 9 years ago so I can identify, at least in part, what it’s like to see someone you love slowly change, both in personality and physically, as a result of brain disease. When you wrote about the guilt and conflict of emotions when looking after them, it just rang so true for me – looking after them was so precious but it did make you drained and heartbroken to see them in a deteriorating state. I’m so sorry you are going through this. But you have such an inspiring attitude to her illness and I always love seeing your pictures of you and your mum, the colouring books are such a good idea to do together! I’ll be praying for you and your family. Xx

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  12. Kelli.
    Thank you for sharing this.
    It’s brave.

    I can’t imagine what kind of pain you are in. I wish I could help. Make it all better somehow.

    But I want you to know that both you and your Mom look absolutely lovely in these photos. 🙂

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  15. Me too, Kelli. Me too.

    My sweet mama is going down this trip as yours is. I myself am 57 and she is 79. It still feels too young to me. My dad is struggling to care for her and I fear the worst for him.

    But Kelli, I can share with you a couple of thoughts that have helped me get through this. I think you’ve already mentioned one.

    1. She is not in pain.
    2. She’s usually happy. She knows no strangers.
    3. There’s no such thing as an argument because you get to start over in a minute.
    4. This is the most important one: Your mom may not remember who you are, but you know who she is.

    She’s still there, she’s doing the best she can. Love her, cherish any and all time with your sweet mom.

    Life isn’t fair, but we can still be kind and give back to the person who gave us life and lots of lessons to boot.

    Love,
    Janet

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  16. I just found this blog. Glad I did. I read around and have enjoyed it. I first saw you on the Blimey Cow vids. I think you are so smart, funny, and just completely adorable. You seem to have such a strong character that I admire.

    I was sorry to read about you mother. My father also has dementia. Although it has only been about 3 years, he is pretty much gone. He used to have such a vibrant, life-of-the-party, upbeat personality. Now he is almost catatonic. He would never be able to color. He hardly smiles. When I went to visit and saw him for the first time this way a few years ago, I cried so much. For about a year I cried a lot about my dad. I feel like I have already mourned his passing. He just isn’t there…the way he used to be. Every time I visit, my heart is sad. He can’t walk, feed himself, or use the bathroom. And this seemed to just come out of NOWHERE! He was fine. Then he wasn’t.

    Your mother has such a beautiful smile. I am glad you get to hug her, color with her, and enjoy her light.

    Though I mourn for my father, I am grateful that I got to have such a wonderful man in my life. I also know that you and I will, in the life to come, get to experience our wonderful parents made whole!

    Much love to you! And tonight when I say my prayers, I will pray for you, your sweet mother, and hard-working father. xoxoxo

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  17. My mother-in-law is destitute, bed-ridden, and living in our house. Her Social Security barely allows us to hire her enough help to get 2-3 nights of sleep a week. And this has been going on for YEARS. Enjoy what little freedom you have left….

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