Black hours. Around 5 a.m. Shortly before I woke up. I was laying in bed, dreaming.
I dreamt Mom had been cured of dementia. She had her mind back. Mental faculties, cognition -- all in place. Even her former look had returned. Her hair was dyed red like it used to be. She looked middle-aged, around my age actually. Possibly a bit younger. Mom always was rather youthful looking. Her face looked smoother.
At the assisted living facility, the workers say, "Vickie's a sweetie." That's how they see Mom -- as a sweet old lady. Except on those occasions when she becomes restless or someone or something rubs her the wrong way and she goes nuclear, unleashing a tirade in which she hits things and swears like she's in an NC-17 movie based on a Henry Miller novel.
"Did she cuss a lot before?" the facility director asked me.
We joke around a lot, Mom and me. "You and your mom have something. She can calm you down," says my mother-in-law, whom I also call "Mom."
It's a close, but not uncomplicated relationship. Back when she had this younger, fuller look, there were times when Mom could be a real bitch. I guess every mother is at some time or another. We'd have terrible arguments.
And that's what happened when she re-claimed her younger self. It was as if the renewal of her intellect restored some mechanism in her brain, freeing her to be disagreeable, feisty and unyielding again. It was almost like I'd forgotten some younger years. We had some disagreement. I was probably being caustic and not thinking before I talked -- if I were to contemplate on it and all. And Mom was being unbearably bitchy.
Then I had a bad thought.
"I want sweet old lady back. Bring back Dementia Mom."
Naturally I felt guilty. My wife says I like to feel guilty.
That's about the time I woke up.