Communicating with my mom

A typical nightly conversation with my mom sounds like this:

“When are you coming?” she asks, eagerly.

“Saturday,” I say.

“Oh good,” she says, excitedly. “Are you staying overnight?”

“Not this time, Mom.”

“You never stay overnight.” Now she’s petulant.

“I’m sorry, Mom, but I can’t.”

“Why can’t you?” Inquisitive.

“I’m very busy, Mom. And I don’t like to leave the cat. She’s elderly, and sick.”

“Oh, okay. I guess you’re never going to come live with your mother.” Manipulative.

“Live with you?”

“Yes. Why not?” Matter-of-fact.

“Where would I sleep?”

“You could share my bed.” Imaginative.

“The twin bed? It’s too small.”

“I could sleep on the couch.” Resourceful.

“You could sleep on the couch?”

“Yes. I like to sleep on the couch,” she says. Self-satisfied.

“Ok, Mom, you can sleep on the couch, but I can’t live with you. I’m too young for assisted living.”

“You are?” Full of wonder.


“So how many years do I have to wait?” Clever.

“About forty.”

“Forty? I don’t think that’s going to work.” Resigned.

“No, probably not.”

“So you’re coming to visit … tomorrow?” she starts again.

“No, Mom. Saturday.”

“How long are you staying?”


“For days and days,” I say.

“No, you’re NOT!”

“Okay, Mom. No, I’m not.”

“Are you staying for a day?”


“Ugh, what good is that?”

I laugh.

“So when are you coming?” she asks again.


“Are you staying overnight?”

“No. . . .”


Every night. Same conversation. I hang up laughing and wanting to pull out my hair at the same time.

And yet when I think about her losing the ability to communicate some day, I can’t imagine how I will handle it.

I recently saw the Iranian movie, “A Separation,” about a man who cares for his elderly demented father. The man becomes very upset when his father completely stops talking after a traumatic incident.

“He barely said anything, anyway,” says the man’s estranged wife. “Only a couple of words.”

“I liked those words,” the man says. “They were good enough for me.”

I think that’s how I’ll feel when my mom can no longer talk.

About daughter3

My mom has Alzheimer's disease. She's 91 and lives in a nursing home. She has three daughters. I'm her youngest.
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3 Responses to Communicating with my mom

  1. ginkgoguy says:

    The dialogue is very well-constructed. It’s quite similar to the conversations I’ve had with my mom over the past year. Look forward to reading more of your posts.

  2. daughter3 says:

    Thank you, Steve.

  3. Patrick Fisher says:

    I sympathise. My Dad who is 85 and has Alzheimer’s goes over the same ground again and again to the point where i want to explode. But as you say, I will miss it when he can no longer talk.

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