the sound of being alone

Silence. The sound of being alone doesn't have a sound. It has a silence. There is a difference.

A crowded room, full of unfamiliar faces.

Entering a large bright bustling store for the first time, not knowing which direction to go.

Stuck in traffic, unable to move.

All of these have a silence, although they are not silent.

Walking through woods, surrounded by tall pines.

The emptiness, of whatever ails your mind.

Not being able to hear, or process information fast enough.

Silence, the sound of being alone.

I imagine early stages of Dementia includes all of the above feelings of silence, and more. It is heart wrenching to witness and interact with. 

Yes, the horses are out.

No, our horses don't get cold being outside.

I wake up early because that is when my mind wakes up.

Every conversation is a new conversation, repeated and repeated with patience. Lots and lots of patience.

All common, all silencing.

To the core.


My 87 year old mother finally agreed to stay with us for the first time ever, for 12 days. The family member she lives with went on vacation. It saved me a lot of daily travel to check on her, and gave me peace of mind for her well-being in the coldest winter months. It was a challenging game changer, that got both easier and harder with each passing day. An absolute blessing to spend time with my mom alone. Who knows how many days she has left, or any of us have left for that matter. 

I cherished all of the moments, and most of the time. Let's be honest I longed for my routine, and not being questioned why I am doing absolutely everything and anything. Over and over. My body and mind really missed exercising. My patience was put to the test. I took a lot of deep breathes and pauses, and thankfully kept it all together and passed. Brad was wonderful and listened to more than his fair share of exasperation on the side. In true form, my sweet mom was been the easiest most "go with the flow" person to care for. I love my mom with my whole heart!!

me & mom having fun with filters 

I hope she enjoyed a peaceful country change of lifestyle. If nothing else as a break from the turmoil of her daily life, living with the most negative person I know. Even if she doesn't remember much of it, or at all. There were no arguments, yelling, or being told what/when/how to do every and any thing. At times she still needed direction, but without condescending micromanaging she absolutely shined! Waking bright eyed and bushy tailed, on her own chosen timeline. She got dressed with hearing aids on, ready for her coffee and breakfast earlier and earlier as the days passed - without being asked.

Never before has it become so apparent to me, that we are products of our environment. 

My mom said she was glad she came to stay with us, and could see how happy I am. On the last day of her visit, she asked if she could stay. Did she have to leave? Yes, she did. Her other child was asking about her, but my mom has been and always will be welcome in our home. Multiple times I heard "I will have to come back and spend some weekends with you guys". She most likely won't, because I know my mom will fall back into her old routine.

My hope is my mom remembers the feeling of choice, loving patience and the sound of not being alone - even when it was quiet.


In closing: This very personal post was written over a month ago, before the world shut down. SO many are struggling with "social distancing" in this new era we find ourselves in. I am hopeful those with heart, that are actually doing the right thing, truly feel the self fulfilling awareness that comes from being alone. Especially when the world has gone quiet. 


Shirley said...

That's a beautiful post. So many times parents with dementia are just shut into care homes and forgotten about, or are visited begrudgingly. Yes they can try our patience but when you think that it may be you in the same position some day, its a little bit humbling.
I hope she stays healthy through all this virus crisis.

Grey Horse Matters said...

I'm sure your mom had a wonderful time with you and Brad. I believe that peoples attitudes and well-being reflect their environment and you gave your mom what she needed. Sure it was probably frustrating at times but you sailed through the rough spots admirably. Then again I think some of us could probably remember times we frustrated and exasperated our moms when we were younger.
I hope she does get to visit some weekends in the future. I'm sure she'd enjoy her time with you. Love the picture, looks like you were both having fun. Cherish the time you can spend together. I lost my mom when she was 68 and I still miss her.

Stay safe and well during this pandemic crisis.

aurora said...

Thank you for your kindness. Not sure why I decided to share after so long, other than it seemed like a good time. Hoping I/we can spend more time with my mom, after this pandemic is resolved. Stay well my friends!!

C-ingspots said...

Precious time spent, for sure...moms should be cherished, even their annoying parts. :) Trust me, you'll even miss those annoying and frustrating things when they're gone. You are blessed to still have your mom.

Linda said...

Beautiful post and how differently it is received in this moment of international isolation. I have a friend who was unable to be at her mom’s side as she passed last week. Tragedy upon tragedy. My own mom and dad are self-quarantined in their home. Scared. Isolated. It’s no way to live, but there’s no other choice.