For the past year I have been planning to record the story of Mom’s life. I want to take out old photos and have her tell me the stories behind them. I want to know what some of her favorite memories are; favorite (or not so favorite) vacations. I fear I have waited too long.
In the past few weeks, maybe month, it seems that Mom’s dementia is progressing very quickly. Often I can’t understand what she is saying and she starts thoughts only to stop in the middle of them and stare out the window. When I ask her to continue what she was saying, she does not remember that she was talking. She is remembering less and less every day.
The other day I asked her what her favorite vacation with her brothers was. She said she remembers having fun, but does not remember the specific vacations. If I ask her about Germany specifically, she says she liked it. I asked her about vacations with the kids and she can only recall those memories if I remind her of the story such as “What about the time that donkey scared one of the boys?” Then she can tell me a bit about that memory.
Whether or not you have a loved one with dementia, try to record some of the stories of your loved ones lives, and your own life. These are the things that people will hold on to and they help create a sense of identity and belonging to the younger generation.
Four years ago I could not find a book to read to my son at bedtime, so I told him a story from my husbands childhood instead. Ever since then, our son has asked us “Tell me a story about when you were little.” This is so important to him. He looks for the similarities in these stories between us and him. He likes to comment “I must have gotten that from you.” For instance, we were just talking about the amusement park Cedar Point which he and his dad have already gone to twice this season. My Mom loves roller coasters as well and she was talking to him about some of the rides at Cedar Point. He knows he gets his love of coasters from his grandma and his father.
Time goes by too fast, so record what you can, spend time with those you love. I worry that one day I will wake up and Mom won’t know who I am. I can’t wait any longer to record all the things her grandchildren will want to know about her.