The Honeymoon Is Over

For the past two years, life with Mom has been sweet. Alzheimer’s is such a debilitating disease, and the silver lining was that she was so loving and so sweet.

The honeymoon is over.

It started about a month ago. She insisted she witnessed a child being beheaded. My immediate reaction was, “No! That didn’t happen!” thinking that may reassure her that it was a bad nightmare. Big mistake. She screamed at me, “It did! I saw it!” so then I resorted to, “Oh my goodness. That must have been so terrible, Mom. I’m so sorry you saw that.” And she would cry. And cry. And cry. And retell a strikingly similar story each day. And become just as upset. This would go on for hours. Nothing would console her. I reached out to her doctor and we adjusted her medicine.

After a few weeks, one day she didn’t talk about the child who was beheaded. And I thought to myself, “Thank goodness that phase is over.”

Lordy. We’re now in the “I hate you!” “Get away from me!” “How could you be so mean to me?” phase. She has an uncanny knack of waiting to melt down until I’m on a work call. She storms into my office, crying, screaming, and stomping her feet. I attempt not to look at her and continue with my call, nonplussed. I text her caregiver to please come get her. She screams at her caregiver, shoos her away, and tells her to go away and get out of her house.

I try comforting her. It doesn’t help. I try ignoring her. It doesn’t help. I try talking to her logically. That really doesn’t help. I try agreeing and sympathizing with her. Not helpful.

Tonight she was so angry at me that she threw her purse in the middle of the floor, stormed up the steps, and slammed her bedroom door. I didn’t hear anything for a while, so I went upstairs and found her lying in bed, sobbing. I sat down beside her and she screamed, “Get out!” “Mom, I’m sorry you’re so upset. I love you so much. I brought you your medicine.” “I DON’T NEED MEDICINE! GET OUT!”

She did need her medicine. It’s a sleeping pill so that she sleeps through the night. Otherwise, she wakes up around 2 am, hysterical, and comes into my room.

“GET OUT!” “Mom, I’ll leave as soon as you take your medicine.” “I CAN DO THIS TOO.” “I know you can, Mom. Take your medicine and I’ll leave you alone.” “I SAID, GET OUT!” and she pulled all the covers over her head so she couldn’t see me. “I’m going to sit here until you’re ready to take your medicine.” After a few minutes she said, “FINE. GIVE IT TO ME!” She started to sit up, and I handed her the small pill. With one movement, she tossed the pill over her shoulder as if she were making a wish at a fountain. “THERE!”

I really tried to keep my composure, and I couldn’t help but laughing. “Mom, I’ll bring you another pill. I have a whole bottle. When you’re ready to take it, let me know, and then I’ll leave you alone.” I got another pill and brought it to her. She laid in bed, sobbing. I sat beside her, quietly. Finally, she said, “ok” and took the pill.

I tucked her in, kissed her forehead, and told her I loved her.

“Just go away….” she whimpered.

16 thoughts on “The Honeymoon Is Over

  1. Oh, Lori. I’m so sorry. My mother went thru that — violent episodes — stories about her imaginary husbands — horrible fabrications about my actual father. This condition is like a living horror story.

    Love to you.

  2. Oh goodness, Lori. The agony you are going through is palpable and incredibly painful. The phases of this dreadful disease are erratic and I so hope this one will be short-lived. Please give your mom an extra little hug from me and a great big hug for yourself!

  3. Dear sweet Lori,
    It is difficult to imagine that the lady I knew as Miss Sybil has turned into this difficult to manage human being. But I do appreciate your situation. My beloved grandmother deeply afflicted with Alzheimers screamed at my son (whom in her previous life loved dearly), “Who is that little boy? Get him out of here!” Matt, being only eight years old, was scared and confused. Albeit painful, it was a teachable moment.
    Please take good care my friend, it is an act of remarkable love that you give to your mom. Thank you for your live and commitment to a lady that is beloved by so many.
    Elaine Smith (Pegram)

  4. So sorry you are going through this, Lori. It’s heart-breaking. You are an amazing, loving daughter. I pray for strength for you to stay kind. Your mom is so fortunate to have you. She raised you well. I hope you can always cling to how wonderful she was when you are in the tougher moments. Hugs.

  5. Oh Lori – heartbreaking to read of this particular phase, and know how difficult this must be for your sensitive,kind, loving self. Sending you all the love; let us know if you could use an in-person chat sometime, any time.

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