My mother-in-law moved to Cincinnati just over two years ago. Her husband passed a couple of years before that. She lives in a retirement community within walking distance of Ty and me so that we can take care of her because she suffers from dementia. Unfortunately, she’s stuck in a very negative place where she can’t remember how long she’s been here or how miserable she was before she moved here. She lived alone for few years before moving here and she voluntarily decided to come, even though it’s a decision she now regrets. She will tell anyone who will listen (several times) “There’s no place like home.” She hates where she lives now. She just wants to be back in Springfield, KY with her husband, her dog and the house they used to live in. She is a lovely woman. She is very friendly and outgoing and has been more like a mother to me than a mother-in-law. At this point in her life though she is hard to be around for more than a few minutes at a time because every few minutes- usually five minutes at the most she will repeat how unhappy she is with her life and how she just wishes she could go back home or “the good Lord” would call her.
We love her and we try to be patient with her and when my patience wears thin I remind myself that I can see myself in her. Similar to her, I either want to go back in time or all the way forward to when I go Home. This in between is killing me. Everyone tells her to cheer up. Make the best of your life now. She is living in a great place. She has friends there. There are all kinds of activities. She doesn’t have to cook or clean. It’s like being on permanent vacation in an all inclusive resort. “Just be happy with what you’ve got.” they say to her. “You had a good life with your husband and your kids. You’re living in a better place than you’ve ever been in. You have your daughter close. What more could you want?” But, she won’t hear it. She can’t hear it. She is homesick and as she tells us over and over “This is not my home.”
So, as I deal with her phone calls and her repeating over and over “There’s no place like home” every time I see her, I try to keep in mind that I’m doing the same thing. She can’t cover it up because she has zero short term memory. So, two minutes after she says something, she’s very likely to say it again. It’s not her fault. I have to maybe tone it down I guess. I need to put on that happy face more often. No one wants to be around that negativity all of the time. People want us to be happy. But, yeah, Margaret. Now I know what you mean.