False Alarm

Mom likes to hold on to old drugs. She has bottles of my father’s prescription pain killers that expired even before he did. She keeps them “just in case.” I sneak these into the trash whenever I can without her noticing.

The other day, I had been sitting out on the terrace, reading. I walked into the kitchen and spotted a scrap of paper on the kitchen table. On it was inscribed a very sad poem in my mother’s handwriting. The words were of love and loss. The last line was “Good bye.” On the table, next to the note, were some empty pill bottles which had once contained Valium and oxycodone.

Now, Mom has been depressed since Dad died. She has expressed the wish for her life to end already. Her morbid attitude was one of the driving reasons for bringing her to live with us in the first place. I know in my heart she doesn’t have it in her to end her life by her own hand. However, doing the math (note + empty pill bottles + closed bedroom door), I got a little nervous and walked into Mom’s bedroom.

I observed Mom sleeping on the bed. She was breathing normally. I went in and touched her arm. She opened her eyes. Everything OK, Mom? She responded in the affirmative. I went back to the kitchen to retrieve the note and I showed it to her. She put on her glasses, looked at it and explained that she had been trying to recall the lyrics of an old favorite torch song from the days of the Dorsey Brothers. Then she sang the song. Mom still has a pretty voice.


About traceysl

Digital Artist, creative technologist, problem-solving lover of life. Having cared for my mother, who died on April 14, 2015 after a long fight with dementia, I have refocused professionally to helping others through my experience. I have started a company called Grand Family Planning to provide unique Family Support Services. In this way, I share my knowledge and give meaning to the tragic turn of my parents' journey through the misery of dementia.
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