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who are we?

by Judy
November 7, 2012 

Who are we? How is it that our personality can change so radically? Even before the stroke, my mother had gotten so much quieter…actually a better listener than she had ever been and not trying anymore to be the center of attention. That had dropped away.  It all changed quite dramatically three years ago when my mother was 93 after being hospitalized for low salt and more importantly for a restricted aortic valve. From that time in the hospital, she went from still living on her own in the condominium she had lived in for over thirty five years in South Florida to living with an Aide, Pat, twenty-four hours a day.

She no longer had the energy or focus to play bridge which she had loved…no longer cooked or drove and gradually needed to have a walker or Pat’s arm to walk.  She adjusted to this change very graciously and gracefully. Pat moved a bed into her room so she could be closer to her. It was almost a relief for my mom not to have to cook, shop or drive anymore…to rest and rest and rely on Pat to do the work. Over the three years a lot happened and I saw my mom slipping into sleep more and more. This woman who had always been so restless and on the go was now truly content to lie in bed a lot of the day and not do anything; not even watch television.  And at the same time, almost every day she would go out with Pat to a restaurant, sometimes to meet a friend or sometimes still go shopping for food or clothing. She still was aware of wanting to look good if she went out; always lipstick and rouge and her large clip on earrings that often attracted attention. 

When I came down to be with her, I would love to see her in the morning after a good night’s rest. She would be so relaxed and soft and happy to see me. I just wanted to smother her with kisses. She had become this soft being, still funny, with an infectious laugh that filled her whole body. I loved her so much it sometimes hurt. It was like the same mom and a new mom and a new relationship that had never been before.

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