Spring keeps teasing us here in Wisconsin, drawing us out of our houses for walks in the sunshine or a little time in the garden, and has us washing the salt off of our cars and sweeping out the garage. Then, BAM! Winter is back!
To think that just a week or so ago I was working out in the garden without my jacket and sometimes without my shoes (I know it’s a bit early in the season for that, but my barefoot gardening should come as no surprise to you, my friends). What a joy it was to breathe in all of that crisp, fresh air as I filled bins and buckets with handfuls of winter’s garden debris and weeds already trying to get a toehold this year. As I worked a small section at a time during my mom’s napping hours, I inspected the ground for the promise of tulips and daffodils.
Last year at this time my spring garden was already awash in color as the tulips and daffodils put on their show. This year, as winter drags on, the leaves are detained in their quest to push their flowery heads above the earth.
Momma frets and worries whenever the deck just outside her window to her world gets wet (thinking it will get ruined) and is super anxious when the deck is covered with snow. From her vantage point sitting in her chair by the window, it seems we are trapped in here and that no one will be able to come or go. Wayne graciously shovels the snow off of the deck to alleviate her worries and has even been known to mop the deck when it’s wet, so as to calm the anxious fears of his fretful mother-in-law.
This flip-flopping weather reminds me a great deal of the unpredictable nature of Alzheimer’s. One minute my mother is enjoying life, playing with puzzles, coloring, gazing at the birdlife outside of the window, offering to help with dishes, then BAM! Alzheimer’s throws her mind for a loop and she is agitated, super confused, and anxious about so very many things. Here, in this winter of life state, she sleeps away much of the day, paces back and forth in the evenings, experiences paranoia, delusions and hallucinations, and worries a lot about running out of money. Her usual pleasant and upbeat self gets a little irritable and ornery, and her favorite soothing activities provide little comfort.
Gazing at the late in the season snow falling outside of the kitchen window, I take comfort in knowing this snow will not last long. Spring’s warmth will return and stay for more than a day or two, and tulips and daffodils will once again strut their stuff. Much like a long, hard winter that seemingly lasts forever, this season of Alzheimer’s in mom’s life will eventually come to an end. And that which will follow will be unbelievably beautiful.