Who Am I?

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Who Am I?

Teresatalk
question-556104_640The other day Dean, my husband, made the statement that he keeps thinking I'm his mother. He's made this poignant statement a few times in the past couple of years and I'm always left speechless. I don't know how to respond to his revelation, because of the emotions it brings to me.

He expresses it as an eerie confessional, and I should respond with something supportive or even sweet and romantic, such as "That's alright, honey. That's because I just love you so much" or "I can be your mother or whoever you want me to be. At least we're together, right?"

But instead my own feelings overwhelm my thoughts and I want to come back with, "Well, if you'd stop behaving like a little boy, you'd know who I am!" or "I don't want to be your mother. I'm your wife, remember?" I have to bite my tongue not to say those hurtful things I'm feeling.

But face it, underneath the anger there's also the fear and frustration. I'm aware that people with dementia may gradually forget who their loved ones are, and it sounds like he's on the verge of entering that horrible place, and I don't know how to bring him back. It's when I feel most helpless.

I have a confession to make too. Many times I feel like his mother. A wife wouldn't put up with such a disobedient and disrespectful child. But mothers can and do. I am forced to mother this husband of mine. So maybe WHAT I am is his mother, but it's not WHO I am. Then, my next question to myself is "Who am I?"

This is when I'm thankful to be able to identify with caregivers. No longer do I have to question my role. I may not actually be his mother or feel like his wife, but I can certainly call myself a caregiver. Maybe next time he questions who I am, I'll respond with this clear, truthful, and supportive answer, "That's just because I'm such a good caregiver, isn't it, dear?" He'll know what I'm talking about and it won't hurt either of us.