I Must Be Going Out Of My Mind

There she sat at her computer. Della knew she had done this a thousand times. That cursor. Blinking, blinking. Curse that cursor! The cogs are turning but she just can’t seem to figure out the next step.
Mom passed away in January of 2015. From 2011 until the day of her there was a slow but steady slipping of her ability to remember…anything.
My parents and I had a family business for thirty years. We sold and repaired medical equipment. Mom worked in our bookkeeping, answered phones and did our mailings. It wasn’t so much that the work was a challenge for her but she just liked being able to spend time with me.
As Mom got older I noticed that she was having trouble remembering everyday tasks.
Like most accounting software there is a log on system. I started hearing from the accounting room adjacent to my office the pounding of the computer keyboard. I mean the loud pounding of the keyboard. The “I’m going to through this damn thing against the wall” pounding of the keyboard.
I walk into Mom’s office and ask “What’s cooking?” To which she replied, “There’s something wrong with the computer! The program won’t let me in.” As I slide in between her and the keyboard and tap in the user i.d. and password the program jumps to life. “You have those magic fingers.” She would say and then go on about the task of entering checks and printing out invoices.
As the months passed we would play out that scene once or twice a week, with the same exchange each time. Then there came the day when I came in her unusually quite room with her just staring at the accounting program, a pile of checks waiting to be entered.
“What’s cooking Mom?” She turns around sheepishly. “I’m not sure what I’m supposed to do with these.” I can see the look in her eyes of quiet desperation. Help me figure this out, her damp pools of realization cry out.
As time went by and Dad succumbed to a stroke that left him unable to speak well or reason, I decided to close the business.
The choice was hard and one year after the stroke Mom and Dad moved from their home of fifty-three years into an assisted living facility.
The decline continued. For me, it was the look in her eyes that reflected the mental anguish that she could not verbalize. The forlorn look of not connecting the dots. Finally asking as I am updating her on the comings and goings of my kids, “Now Jessica and Matthew are my grandkids right?”
In January of 2015, Mom suffered from a brain aneurysm and passed away in her sleep.
My hope for those that are reading is that if you notice your loved one starting the gentle decline to take action. Take action now. There is no cure but you can slow the process. There are new studies going on all the time. There is a website I found that will track your mental fitness over the years. I urge you that have a family history like mine to subscribe. Here is the link. http://www.brainhealthregistry.org/

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