Saturday, January 15, 2011

Forgetting the Hat

The Silly Hat
It was “silly hat day” at my son’s school on Friday. He wore a great hat we bought in New Orleans full of bright colors and bells. It was sitting on the counter and Mom asked about the hat. She put it on and we laughed about how great it looked on her. Then she walked over to get something from the pantry, turned around and said “Who’s hat is this?” And we explained it all again.

Mom has not been at the stage where her short term memory has been a problem very often. In fact, this was the first time it was glaringly obvious that her dementia is entering a stage we have not been in yet. If she has forgotten things before, when we tell her again, she often remembers our original conversation. Not so this time, the hat was completely new to her.

Over the past few weeks, I have noticed things getting much worse for Mom. One of the hard things about this illness is just when you have started to process and deal with the severity of it, it changes. I had a good amount of education around grief and loss in seminary and in my chaplaincy training. Much of that talks about the stages of grief, such as denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. The stages sometimes occur in that order or not, they may overlap, and sometimes you are in one stage for much longer than another, but in general it is a process. In the case of dementia though, the grief just keeps happening over and over again. And then sometimes for a short while you get back what you lost, just to lose it all again.


Rev. Katie

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