My mother turns 90 on Saturday and I can see her slowly fading away. This once vibrant, feisty, fast-walking, could-walk-any-distance woman is now a baby once again.
She complains that her legs are weak and can’t seem to “carry” her anymore. Her hands shake excessively and holding anything is now hard work. You should hear her favorite cup with a spoon in it jingle like a musical instrument. She even laughs at that herself! Feeding herself has become such a chore, she’d rather not eat until someone can feed her.
Taking a bath takes her ten times longer now, but she insists on doing so herself. She has never slipped or fallen in the bath (safety mechanism installed) so she believes this means she should be the one giving herself a bath. She’s totally resistant to anyone helping her with this.
I’m here to tell you that it’s pretty difficult watching a loved one fade away. Year by year, month by month, I am witnessing her aging process. She jokes about it quite a bit, but for me it isn’t a joke. I know we all have to get old one day (as long as we’re still alive), but coming to grips with it requires a great amount of acceptance of that harsh reality. To watch a person no longer be able to do simple things for themselves, become forgetful – even about something that just took place, not recognize their loved ones, change their preference of food due to the change in their taste-buds to a mushy baby-food like substance, become either extremely pleasant or in some cases, become extremely unpleasant and difficult to handle — some of the many changes that take place with aging — is something that you have to be fully equipped physically and mentally to handle.
My mom is quite aware that she’s moving towards the end of her days here on earth and has different reactions to this awareness. Sometimes she’s pleasant and other times, quite angry. She feels she has lost her independence and just knowing that everything she used to be able to do for herself, has to now be done for her, she just can’t come to terms with that fact.
We understand and are now at the stage of acceptance that she may soon no longer be with us. We truly believe she will be better off, as we definitely do not want her suffering in any way, shape or form.