If you look really close, you can see my Mom smiling. It is a rare smile that comes every so often and it is a good sign…she is happy.
When Sophia and I went to see her today, we found her with a baby. In fairness, I found her with a baby last Tuesday at the BBQ they hosted at her memory care unit. It was sitting on her walker, naked and a little beat up. She introduced me to her baby and I went to put it on a chair, hoping she would forget about it. The week before, I had called her at night and she finally answered the phone and she said she was in bed and snuggling with her baby. I thought she meant her stuffed dog, Matilda. What she was really talking about was this new addition, The Baby.
Honestly, I am not thrilled with this new addition. I have gotten used to her talking to her animals and mainly her dog, Matilda. We take the animals with when we go on our trips and appointments and I have gotten used to their presence. It does bring her comfort and joy. Now she has Matilda the crazy haired dog, the blue stuffed dog with no name and a hockey bear that she also cuddles with. And now the new baby.
I will share with you that it is very difficult for me to see my Mom holding this baby. I know logically that it brings her some joy, just by seeing her face. When I worked in the nursing home and even with home care now, I see the elderly with their most loved items. When I worked in the memory care unit, it varied from a suitcase, a fake baby, a blanket and a purse. I know that the items bring something familiar to them, especially when most everything is taken away from them, especially their memory.
As I look at this doll, it represents what my mom is right now and where she is at in her loss. She is comforted by a plastic, heavy, very real looking doll. I asked her today, “Do you know that the doll is fake?” Her answer was a simple, yes. She then began to talk to it and offer it a bite of banana that we brought for her. I think that Sophia, my soon to be eleven year old handled it better than I did. She asked Mom questions and we found that she named the baby Jodi. I should be proud that she did not name it Ross, after my brother. I should feel happy, but I am torn.
Here is my mother, now with her baby and she is content and smiled today. Know that I understand her loss, but it is hard for me to realize she is finding comfort in this. It’s hard for me to put this in words, but when I see her talk to the baby I feel her loss and see her loss. She is talking to a life like baby that weights about forty pounds. Someone has given the baby to giver her comfort and it is working. I need to accept that.
Before we leave, I go into their nursery area that they have and I trade out her baby for a lighter one. Sophia and I put on a different outfit and she doesn’t even know we have changed her baby. She snuggles right in with it and gives it a kiss and then tells Sophia, “I think I am too rough with it!”
On the car ride home, I was thinking that she is really just holding me when she holds that baby. She may be going back forty plus years and holding what she thinks is me and I must understand that. So if the baby is a reflection of me, I am ok with that. Well, I guess I have to be.
We leave after a long visit and she tells me she loves us both and she waves the babies hand at us. This baby thing is going to take me a while to get used to, but I will. For her.