Friday, June 17, 2011


Well, after a very long haul, Delilah finally passed. Her funeral was a Catholic mass, which is always confusing for me, all of the standing and sitting and kneeling and drinking and repeating phrases that everyone but me knows about. I felt like the only heathen in the room, but my mother always told us that the pope is the anti-christ, so who's heathen now?

Anyway, it takes a really long time to die of just Alzheimer's and Delilah was otherwise healthy. She was a teacher, and she thought, because of my desk (and my commanding presence) that I was her principal. If we had a party -- christmas, you name it -- it would make her anxious. Parties make most people with dementia anxious, which begs the question: why? But I digress. When anxious, she would march into my office and say, "If you can't get these kids to quiet down, I'm getting the nuns."

Okay, Delilah. I'll deal with the kids.

She wore a wig, kicked the cats, chased my dog, tore down bulletin boards each night, and didn't sleep for years. Years. She made up anything you wanted to know. She wasn't a liar, but she didn't want to seem uninformed, so she'd just confabulate.

In the end, she went for a long sleep. Finally. At last. Her daughter was a wonderful advocate. She kept her wig washed and set long after Delilah had forgotten about hair. She understood the ravages of dementia and never missed an opportunity to speak for her mother. She cared what was important to her, not just what was important for her. Often those of us in the helping industry forget the difference.

1 comment:

Roy said...

I'm sorry to hear about poor Delilah. Well, maybe that's not the way to think about it. Your description of her life makes me glad that she ended her days in the environment you helped provide.

But now I'm curious. Why DO people with dementia get nervous at parties?