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A Thief in the Night

Last night, at about 9:30pm I loaded my gear (as in phone and purse.....b/c we all know how we women carry our lives in there) and myself into my Step-Dad's Durango for an overnight, 600 mile "rescue mission".

A little back story: My Grandmother has dementia. A horrible thing to watch anyone go through but magnified when it's a loved one.

They say that when you get older, all of your idiosyncrasies are magnified. Mema (and Papa for that matter) have always been extremely paranoid. Worrying about anything and everything. They constantly live in fear of someone harming them or a loved one. Well, those thoughts/feelings have magnified with Mema and she's constantly saying that someone is trying to come and kill them, or that Papa is already dead and so on. She knows at times that what she's hearing isn't real but still has a hard time disproving them B/C they seem so real to her.

Her first "episode" happened while we were visiting back in Oct. She was showing me clothes that she had bought for McKayla (some of which McKayla can't wear till HIGHSCHOOL if you can believe it!). As she's going through them, she appears to be looking for something specific. After a few minutes, she said she had a beautiful dress coat for McKayla, but couldn't find it. I thought nothing of it and went about my business.

A few hours later, we're sitting down eating supper and Mema pulls up a chair beside me (she never ate while we did) and starts to cry. She mentions the beautiful dress coat again and says that this guy named Bill had stolen it and several boxes of Little Debbie cookies. Mom and I look at each other. We don't know what to say. Mema proceeds to tell us that Bill and a crew had been at their house painting the eaves and must have stolen a key and broke in. Of course Mom and I ask her what a grown man would do with a toddler's dress coat, much less boxes of cookies but Mema insists that that is what happened.

Looking back on our Oct. visit, I remember having this irresistible urge to take pictures of everything, I couldn't help but wonder WHY. Why did I feel this urge to take pictures of the house, inside and out? I couldn't explain it. I couldn't NOT take pictures, to the point I was scrambling through the house the day we left, snapping pictures left and right. It was kind of eerie, like I knew that was going to be my last "normal" visit and I wanted to remember it as it was. Here's the direct quote from my post about our trip mentioning the urge:

Fast-forward to a couple of months ago and Papa calls Mom in a tizzy and says that he needs her help with Mema. Mom travels to NC and sees firsthand Mema's episodes. She believes that there is a family living in their attic (which is more of a crawl space). Sometimes these people are friendly and even plans meals including them, other times, they're evil and want to harm them.

Mom has to come back home for a doctors appointment and while down here, she gets a frantic phone call from Papa saying that he had to call 911 b/c Mema had gotten uncontrollable. She was pacing from the front door to the back door (which is NOT that close together) saying that someone was coming to visit. He tries to stop her and she proceeds to kick him. He makes the hard decision to call the police and they take her to a mental hospital.

So that leads us to today or yesterday rather. Mom has been up there for over a month. She's taking Papa to his doctor appointments, visiting Mema in the hospital, running errands, doing housework and cooking meals (of which, according to Papa, Mom's not doing them "right" or as good as Mema). Stress is high. Papa has essentially lost his wife of 50 years. Mom has lost HER Mom and is also worried about her Dad. Emotions are raw and tempers fly.

Mom was discussing her and Sonny (my step-dad) moving to NC and staying with Papa b/c Mema is sadly never coming back home, she'll spend the rest of her days in a nursing home. Mema and Papa's house has a full basement, complete with a half-bath. Mom and Sonny could easily live down there without interfering with Papa and his habits. When Mom asks about bringing Izzy (her Hairy Hairless) to live there, Papa explodes. "I am NOT having a dog in my house! I will NOT be having NO dog IN. MY. HOUSE!!!"

This is NOT my Papa, my Papa is the one that would bring me or my brother cookies when we got in trouble by Mom or Dad. Papa is the one that avoided ALL confrontation at all costs. He is NOT a yeller.

Mom yells back (which she's never done before either) that she can't handle this. This yelling, feeling like a stranger and a slave. Papa says "Fine, then go home.", dead serious. Mom says "Fine, I will."

So, that's what started an overnight, 12 hour, 600 mile road trip. We arrived about 3:30 AM, loaded up Mom's stuff and left. I never saw Papa. Mom had left him a note, explaining that words had been said that shouldn't have been said. That she understands that he's stressing out and worried but she is too. She says that she thinks that the both of them need a "break" and she suggests that maybe he'd be happier hiring someone to come clean his house, cook his meals and wash his clothes. She says she'll be back, but that she needs to regroup.

We got back to my house about 9:30 this morning. I called Dad to let him know how the trip went and then passed out about 10:30 or so and slept till 2. I could have easily slept longer, but didn't want to sleep all day and end up staying up all night. By midnight, I was falling asleep though. You might think 'Eh, thats not early!' But it is for me, when I'm not normally going to bed till 2am or later.

Yeah, color me exhausted.

If you're the praying type (and even if you're not, good thoughts go a long way too), please pray for my Mema and Papa. Pray for my Mom and Step-Dad as they move up there. I hope to get up there soon to see them..........

Papa called Mom on Saturday, apologizing and asking when her and Sonny can make it back up there.


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