Snippets of My Mom’s Dementia & A Poem Gift

There have been two distinct periods of my life when I’ve almost lost my parents (individually) due to health issues. One was with my Dad when they returned from a Caribbean cruise and he had contracted the Norwalk virus. He was admitted to the ICU at our local hospital immediately upon their return – on Easter Morning twenty-five years ago. His kidney’s had shut down and he was in failure. Miraculously, he survived.

More recently in September 2021, my mom was admitted to ICU at the same hospital with acute urosepsis. She had also been experiencing the beginning of dementia. We’d noticed her memory failing for recent events, and she’d been falling repeatedly – ultimately being diagnosed with Myasthenia Gravis. From September to November 2021, she spent 58 days in the hospital, eight of which were in the ICU. Then, she went to a step-down/transitional unit, and then a long-term care facility for rehab. My dad worked to bring her home, where she is now, and physically doing alright for an 85-year-old. What follows are some of the conversations we’ve had since. We live 900 miles away. It’s hard to visit, but it’s even harder not to visit. So we make the trip every three months. My sister lives seventy-five minutes away from my parents but still works full time. We do the best we can.

Snippets of Recent Conversations with My Mom

Mom: We haven’t seen you in so long! I’m glad you came.

Me: We were just here three months ago, Mom. We’re coming more often now.

Mom: I’m glad you came.

Mom: Do you know they got a new dog across the street?

Me: We met Luna, Mom, last summer when we came to visit. Remember, Luna and Molly (our dog) played in your yard?

My Mom two hours later…do you know they got a new dog across the street?

My reply two hours later: Oh, really? What’s the dog’s name?

Mom to Dad: Whose car is in the driveway?

Dad: That’s our car.

In the hospital, watching the T.V. report on a group of protestors.

Mom: You need to go down there, Carol. They need a leader like you – a strong, articulate leader!

Me: (What?!) No, they don’t need me – there are enough people involved.

Mom: They do, you’re a leader, Carol.

Me: Thanks, Mom.

Mom: Where’d everyone go?

Dad: Who? We’re the only ones here!

Mom: I mean my parents. Who are you?

Dad: I’m your husband, Bob.

Mom: Where’s Dad?

Dad: He’s dead. He’s been dead a long time.

Mom: Oh. Oh, that’s right.

Mom at the end of every phone call: Love you, much.

Me: I love you too, Mom.

I guess it’s natural to think of my mom this weekend, as Mother’s Day approaches. We won’t be there, and neither will my sister – her daughter graduates from college in a different state on Sunday. My gift will be late – she asked for another walker bag – a handmade fabric bag that hangs over the walker frame to carry books, a pen, etc. I made her one upon her return home and she uses it daily (it can be seen below). I am happy to make her another. It won’t be there Sunday. I’ll talk to her and send my love, the ultimate gift. We’ll be there in no time, summer is around the corner!

Handmade walker back that attaches over the walker’s front bar, enabling the user to carry books, pencils, glasses, etc. © Bag, and photo by author, 2022.

On Sunday

I’ll tell you I love you,

It’s really all I have to give

And hopefully, all you need

To hear,

To have,

To remember.

I love you, mom.

© Carol Labuzzetta, 2023

Today is Poetry Friday. Our host is Robin Hood Black on her blog, Life on the Deckle Edge. Thanks for hosting, Robin!

24 thoughts

    1. Hi, Tabatha! Thanks for sharing that video with me. My mom is more stable at home (with Dad) in their own house than she was in a long term care facility.I hope more places start to become available like the one in the video. As you said, there is hope! Thanks for reading and sharing!


  1. Carol, my heart broke a little reading your post. My mom-in-law is progressing further into her memory loss. And hearing loss makes it hard to talk to her on the phone, even. And my dad is traveling the same difficult path. Hugs to you. And yes–we all just do the best we can.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Laura. I am sorry you are experiencing this also. It is so hard. My mom has hearing loss as well but can hear on the phone if she uses her “good ear.” My dad has the patiences of a saint! Thanks for sharing your own story and words of support.


  2. Carol, what a lovely post. I love your poem and the conversations you have with your mom, especially about you being a leader and that they need you, and she still remembers you. That is a wonderful gift to cherish during this time. The walker bag is a great idea. Blessings to you and your parents during this weekend and into the summer!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Denise! Oddly enough, the experience of her hospitalization did provide some nice memories and conversations. I did talk to her on Sunday and she was thrilled to know I am working on the new walker bag. Thank you for your kind and supportive words.


  3. Sending love, and your voice on the phone, even that is a great thing, Carol. I love that you wrote about your mother for Mother’s Day and know it must be tough for your father like it is for you and your sister. My husband had Parkinson’s dementia, a long goodbye is how I thought of it. We did for him as you are. Our daughter was here and our son lived far, as you do. Hugs to you all along this hard journey.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Linda, Thank you for your support and kind words, also realizing that we are all doing the best that we can. I am sorry you dealt with this with your husband. Parkinson’s is a devastating disease on many levels. I appreciate you sharing your story with me. Thanks!


  4. Yes, hugs for you and yours, Carol. Thank you for sharing this personal post – I think it offers comfort for those who have gone through this or are going through it (as we did with both of my husband’s parents in 2019 & 2020.) Your poem is deceptively simple and full of love.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Robin, Thank you so much! I am both sorry and glad that it struck a chord with you. I thought my poem was almost too simple. You made me realize that the simplicity lets it speak volumes! Thank you again!


  5. I’m right there with you, Carol, on a similar journey. Last week my brother and sister moved my mother to assisted living. She has Alzheimer’s and needs more specialized care. I’ll visit her again in June for her 87th birthday. This year I’ve been grieving my father and my mother since she is not the same. But I’m accepting it better and better each day. I don’t feel the heavy guilt that I had at the beginning. She seems happy for the most part and my brother is a saint. Just tonight he took her back to her former independent living home to see her friends there. I hope your dad is doing okay. It’s the hardest on the daily caretaker.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Margaret, for your thoughtful response. I am sorry you are experiencing this too. It is so hard, as you know. It’s hard to grieve both parents at the same time. My father brought my mom home from a long term care facility after her hospitalization. It was an excellent place but she was not herself there – angry and needy. Dad made the decision to bring her back home. We didn’t realize it at the time, but it was the right decision, even though I think it has been very hard on him to deal with her dementia 24/7. But when I speak with them, they both seem happy and doing alright. They have wonderful neighbors that check on them. We’ll go back in June to visit again. I hope your June visit goes well – You are lucky that your brother is so good to her. Take care of yourself.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Your snippets strike deep, Carol. My own parents are 90 now, and my dad is showing increasing confusion; my mom struggles with mobility but insists on walking without help. It is both difficult and beautiful to walk this part of their journey with them.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are so right, Patricia. It is a difficult but important path to walk with our parents. My mom was very stubborn about using a cane and now a walker but it has maintained mobility for her that she would not have if she didn’t use them. The Myasthenia and arthritis make it hard for her to have any endurance at all. I hope you have some support on this journey with your folks. Thanks for letting me know you can relate to my words.


  7. We are not quite there yet with either of my parents, but we can see it coming, and more painfully, THEY are seeing it coming. Those are our conversations these days, about what it feels like to decline from our former powers. Thanks for an important post.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s so hard when they see it as well. My mom will now admit she doesn’t remember well. She was a vibrant, funny, extremely intelligent woman. It’s hard to see her as a shadow of her former self. We feel lucky when those old qualities shine through! Best wishes to you, Heidi, as you travel this journey with your parents.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s