Momma is in a fuzzy, foggy world. There seems to be a thick, one-way glass wall all around her. It’s not the typical one-way glass that people put in expensive homes thought, because it is a trick glass, too. The walls around her distort all images so that nothing is as it seems. We see her, and we think she is Momma; we think she is the woman we could also make reason with and make sense of misunderstandings. But this woman on the other side of the lying glass is not our Momma.
Momma is somewhere inside a Picasso painting – recognizable, but broken and misplaced. Momma sees us, too, and she thinks she knows who we are, but all she really knows are names and faces and how to arrange us in the proper relationship boxes. Momma often sees enemies behind our faces.
When I see Momma through this lying glass, I am constantly guessing, then second-guessing my conclusions. I can’t possibly know what she thinks or feels, in part because even the most empathetic human can’t fully know another’s most inner self. But I also can’t know because Momma can’t tell me.
The distortions become the new reality.
I know Momma is lonely and scared, but my words and efforts fall on barren ground. I think she is overwhelmed by fatigue and confusion, but I, the baby daughter, cannot perform the daily tasks for her that serve to maintain the façade of “normal” living.
For example, Momma can’t get out of bed and get herself dressed. She believes that she can and therefore refuses help or any sort of coaxing. But Momma goes days several without getting dressed. Then ever 3rd or 4th day, she manages to get up, get bathed, and get dressed. It is dusk before the task is complete.
When I suggest that we need a professional health care worker to help get her dressed every day, Momma looks at me as if I am a stranger. She accuses me of insulting her, making her think she is crazy, and of trying to speed up the process of deterioration.
The walls between us grow thicker and more distorted. Chains of isolation tighten around each of us.
I want desperately for Momma to understand. Momma is smart and interesting and creative. These things are still inside of her; I am sure they are still in there. I believe that she could have a better quality of life if only she would get up, get dr4essed, and allow me to take her out into the world. But this is my understanding; not hers.
What if Momma really is happier in the lonely isolation she so vehemently protects? What should I do? What is best for her?
Momma slowly sinks into darkness while I spin like a dazed lab rat inside my lying glass cage. Days melt into weeks, then months. And still, Momma sinks and I spin.