When I saw Scott Taylor’s post, I had to ask if I might share it, and I was grateful when he agreed. Scott’s mom, Debbie Taylor, was diagnosed with dementia a few years ago. Her drift into it was gradual but constant, he says. Now she thinks he’s someone else. Here’s what he wrote about that:
August 24, 2017: After today’s visit with my mom, I was particularly reflective when I left. More so than normal. Some days are better than others and it’s definitely hard for me to see her like this.
She still doesn’t know or believe I’m her son. The dementia has made sure of that. But her relationship with the stranger she thinks I am is getting stronger. Heck, it’s a full-blown friendship now. She remembers details about my life, asks me how my business is doing, how things are going with writing. She hugs me and seems excited to talk to me.
You see, my mom and Steve Holcomb (the name and persona she has given me in her mind) are actually becoming quite close. We laugh, keep each other updated on life and just shoot the breeze in general. Sometimes that’s the best you get in a situation like ours. And you know what, that’s alright with me. It’s okay she doesn’t know my name. Because I think she feels my love. And that’s much more important.
All I can do is all I can do, and that’s to love her as the stranger she thinks I am. So that’s what I do. And I trust it’s enough for right now.
If you feel distressed because someone you love with dementia doesn’t recognize you, you might find these posts helpful: 20 great question to ask when a loved one with dementia doesn’t know you anymore and it doesn’t matter if they know you or not.
Scott Taylor is the founder and creative director of Colorpop, an art and design firm based in Tulsa OK.
He also is a writer and speaker, traveling around talking about empathy, vulnerability and developing emotional literacy.