Summer, Not So Fun

28 Jul

Summer, Not So Fun

I send you greetings from sunny southern California. I’ve been in the Southland since the last week in June. The Santa Monica and San Gabriel Mountains are beautiful, but I long to see the Rocky Mountains.

My son, Russell, died in February 2009.  My brother-in-law, Cleveland, died in September 2009.  Let’s say it was a very bad year.  While my sister and I were wrestling with our losses, our mother was “stepping out.”
That’s my term for it.  She was losing her grasp on reality.

She began to get confused about what day of the week it was. Hey, we’ve all done that.  But still, it was concerning.  Mom always has a calendar nearby.

Mom began telling me about conversations she’d had with my father.  This wouldn’t be troubling if my father hadn’t died ten years ago.  She’d call, worried because Dad had been gone all day. I’d remind her that my father was dead.  These occurrences began to happen more frequently.

In Aprils of this year, Mom told my sister I was having an affair.  You’d have to know me to realize how funny that is.  Having drinks with the girls after work became having dinner with my lover and his wife.  That’s how I roll.  No sneaking around for me.  I had to share the news of my cheating with my husband.  I didn’t want him to be the last to know.  If I’m going to include my lover’s wife in dinner plans, shouldn’t my husband come along as well?  Sometimes it’s easier to laugh.

She continued to go downhill. My sister and I didn’t know how much longer she could be on her own.  In early June, my sister brought Mom to her house. I planned an extended visit to help clean out Mom’s house and take her to see a doctor about this issue.

Mom seems more childlike with each passing day. That isn’t a good thing.  There are days she demands to go back to her house and be left alone.  I understand her request.  There is truly no place like home. Unfortunately, we don’t think that is the right thing for her.  She gets confused.  She is sometimes confused about who we are.  There was the time my sister was the maid and I was the other one.

Mom asked me if I ever talked to my first husband.  My friends are surprised.  They didn’t know anything about that marriage, and neither did I.

This is the person who brought me into this world.  This is the person who raised me.  This is the person that loved me with all her heart.  I’ve spent the last month watching her slip away.

There are days when she is clear and sharp.  An old movie, Too Many Girls, was on television.  It starred Lucille Ball.  Mom told me that this is where Lucille met Desi.  I checked the credits, but Desi Arnaz wasn’t listed.  I took this as another example of her increasing confusion.  I thought she’d enjoy the movie, even if Desi wasn’t in it.  The movie was in progress.  The first face we saw on the screen was Desi Arnaz.  Mom’s memory hadn’t failed her.

I wish I could say I’ve handled this situation with grace.  For some reason I believe she can come back.  If she stepped out, why can’t she step back in?  I know I’m not being logical.  I hate that.  She’s says something…outlandish and I snap at her before I can catch myself.  I keep expecting to have a rational conversation with someone who isn’t what I consider rational.  It’s like someone who keeps walking into a closed sliding glass door.  Just because the door was open five minutes ago doesn’t mean it’s still open.

I’m wrapping up my vacation, but I need your help.  I should have reached out to you sooner. What stories can you share with me?  I need your words of wisdom as I navigate this life experience.


Posted by on July 28, 2011 in Idaho


20 responses to “Summer, Not So Fun

  1. johannaharness

    July 28, 2011 at 7:06 AM

    Lynn–my heart goes out to you. I have no wisdom, but I’m sending you hugs all the same.

    • Lynn Mapp

      July 28, 2011 at 1:37 PM

      Thank you, Johanna. I’m savoring the warmth of your arms.

  2. thelittlefluffycat

    July 28, 2011 at 7:19 AM

    I have no wisdom to offer, and no story, but through any difficult situation my solution has been to write my way through it. It helps me listen to my heart and make some sense of what my mind is perceiving. Hang in.

    • Lynn Mapp

      July 28, 2011 at 1:38 PM

      Thank you. I know I’ll make my way through this, but..

  3. Carley Ash

    July 28, 2011 at 8:05 AM

    Lynn. I am so sorry. My grandpa went through these same things, and it’s heartbreaking to watch their confusion and frustration. One day, after telling him who I was for the tenth time, he said, “I haven’t seen you since you were three years old.” It broke my heart that he thought I hadn’t bothered to come see him in all those years….We’ll talk more.

    • Lynn Mapp

      July 28, 2011 at 1:40 PM

      Thanks, Carley. It’s just hard. One moment they’re with you (as in they know why you are), and the next…, they’re gone.

  4. Liz Fredericks

    July 28, 2011 at 8:10 AM

    Hey Lynn. I feel helpless too. It’s horrible to know that you can’t fix something and have to watch someone step away. I wish I could write something magical to help you. I recommend doing the same thing that I suspect you’d tell me. Turn to God and know you’ve a slew of people who love and support you.

    • Lynn Mapp

      July 28, 2011 at 1:42 PM

      Liz, you knew exactly what to say. I feel so incredibly blessed. I do have support. I don’t know how people without support make their way through something like this.

  5. Janis McCurry

    July 28, 2011 at 8:48 AM

    Our family always said, “Mom’s being loopy again.” But, bear in mind, it’s always with love. Humor, as you mentioned, helps relieve the stress. Talking about it always helped us, too. Deciding together on what steps came next. Also, whenever I lost patience, I forgave myself. Then, I sat close to Mom, took her hand and smiled at her. Acted like I had nothing else to do but sit with her. She liked that. Take care of yourself and you will have the strength to see it through.

    • Lynn Mapp

      July 28, 2011 at 1:44 PM

      Oh, Janis, you touched the sore spot. I’m not forgiving myself. I keep getting annoyed with me because I have snapped. Thank you for the suggestion.

  6. Clarissa Southwick

    July 28, 2011 at 8:50 AM

    Funny that your mother keeps making up imaginary lovers for you. Maybe it’s those sparks of imagination that help her through the day. Maybe in her heart, she was always a romance writer.

    We have all missed you this summer. I know your sense of humor will carry you through these rough times. Hope to see you soon.

    • Lynn Mapp

      July 28, 2011 at 1:47 PM

      Clarissa, you know I’ve missed you as well. It is funny how she keeps adding men to my life. After she asked me about my first husband I did have several questions, other than what first husband. Was he handsome? Why did we split up? What was his name?

  7. Meredith Conner

    July 28, 2011 at 10:00 AM

    Lynn, I watched my grandmother go through the exact same thing. She came to live with us until we couldn’t take care of her. I think you have to find whatever way helps you to get through something like this – laughter, religion, a therapist, your family. Whatever works. We tried to find humor. I played pool with my grandmother while she was “stepping out” and before she left us mentally. My grandmother was a teetotaler and had never been in a bar in her life – we had a blast together and it is one of my fondest memories of her. Take care of yourself.

    • Lynn Mapp

      July 28, 2011 at 1:49 PM

      Meredith, thank you for sharing that story. I did spend time asking her questions about her childhood, collecting her memories.

  8. Mary Vine

    July 28, 2011 at 12:12 PM

    My father is 90 years old. He has dementia. I think it’s been about five years now. Humor is necessary, I think. It’s interesting that some can be mean and others can be very sweet. I’ve heard that it can be the opposite of what they were in their prime. Dad is sweet, but that doesn’t help when he doesn’t know who I am-sometimes. Even during those times, I fully believe that in his heart he knows that I am special to him, I see it in his eyes. The last time I saw him, he said I was pretty and a very sweet person, two things he’s not often said. I would have been devastated if he’d died before five years ago as we were so close, now as he slips from me it helps so that I won’t be devastated when he does go. I’ve already stopped sharing all the details of my life as I’d always done. You are lucky to have your sister and I hope the two of you can get along through this ordeal. My sister and her husband live with my dad and it is such a comfort to me. My two sisters don’t get along at all and it really makes me sad.Now my husband’s parents are struggling, too. Call me if you’d like a sounding board.
    I always knew you were having an affair.

    • Lynn Mapp

      July 28, 2011 at 1:53 PM

      Mary, thank you for making me laugh. My sister and I are close. She wanted me to spend this time so I could see how Mother is behaving, as if I wouldn’t believe it. I trust my sister. It’s just like you said, the situation is sad. Thank you so much for offering to be my sounding board.

  9. Peggy Staggs

    July 28, 2011 at 12:27 PM

    Lynn, I’ve seen you grieve the past few years and I know the toll it has taken on you. The only solace I can offer to you on your mom is, at least you had her this long. As for Russell, my heart hurts every time I see your pain. We’re here for you always.

    • Lynn Mapp

      July 28, 2011 at 1:57 PM

      Oh Peggy, you made me cry. Thank you so much for your support. You know I’m being weak. Jeret Peterson, Speedy, was one of Russell’s friends. His death, yesterday, is hitting me. I feel so sorry for his family. I know you are there for me.

  10. Steph Bochenek

    August 5, 2011 at 10:13 AM

    I’m so sorry to hear about your mother. Thankfully you have your sister. I don’t know what I’d do without mine. We missed you at retreat. I wish I had some wonderful words of inspiration but I don’t. Just know you are loved.

    • lynn mapp

      August 7, 2011 at 10:09 PM

      Hey Steph, thank you. I’d like words that would make this all…go away, but I know that won’t happen. I working to make sense of this. What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger.


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