July 9, 2012

Now would be a good time to come home

Posted in Family tagged , , , , at 5:50 am by msweet42

I’ve been in Canada some 28 years now. I’ve been back to Iowa to visit the family often over the years. I’ve spoken to Mom and Dad on the phone a lot. The usual calls for the holidays and the odd call now and again just to keep in touch.

During all this time, my mother has never once asked me when I was coming to Iowa. I suppose she just assumed I’d get there when I got there and that was good.

When I called her for Mother’s Day this year she asked me “When are you coming to Iowa?”  Just that. No big deal. Just that. When I hung up, I turned to Diane and said “Something is wrong.” Don’t know what. Don’t know who. I just know something is coming.

We looked at our schedules and our finances – we had just been down there between Christmas and New Year’s. We talked to the girls about their schedules. Do we want to go down just the two of us? Take the girls? Sam was down on the December run. Do hadn’t been down for some 10 – 12 years. If Do goes, do we bring all her troops – Andrew and the three kids? An idea began to emerge of renting a van and driving down. That’s the only way to get all seven of us down. October looks to be the best time considering everyone’s various obligations. Whatever. We’re sort of working on this.

Then “The Email” arrives from Cyndi.

She’s accompanied Mom and Dad to the doctor.

Mom has been diagnosed with Frontotemporal Dementia and Progressive Aphasia.

Right. Look that up. Right. Stare at the wall for a while. Look it up again. Right.

This does not get any better. By that I mean what I am reading does not get any better. Mom is not going to get any better. Oh. Crap. Let’s deconstruct that a bit.  Frontotemporal Dementia is just what it sounds like but it very nicely indicates where in the brain things are headed South first.  Progressive Aphasia simply means she is loosing her words.

A woman who has spent her life writing poetry and short stories is loosing her words. That woman with the wicked wit, the charming turn of a phrase, the woman who taught me how to discuss, debate and describe is on the path to silence.

OK, but aren’t we all headed down that path some time or the other? What kind of time-frame are we talking here? Sooner than later. We get word that it would be best to come down sometime in the next three to six weeks, three being better than six. Crap. There goes October.

We quickly put together a plan for me and Diane to fly down. Check with the girls. Do can go for part of the time. Sam will stay home. I make arrangements for the money to book flights, hotel, and a car.

Discussions with various Iowa siblings paint a pretty bad picture. I talked to Dad the night of The Email. He sounded as beat down as I’ve ever heard him. He sounded better when I talked to him a couple of days later to let him know we are coming but it still doesn’t sound good.

So its off to Iowa we go. I’m afraid of what I’m going to find. Hoping for the best. Fearing the worst.



1 Comment »

  1. grlsctldr (Mary Ann) said,

    I am glad you inherited mom’s gift of words.

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