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Corelle Isn’t Unbreakable

Posted on Monday, August 28th, 2023

Dave!It's really tough to talk about the final years of my mom's life.

Dementia is a deeply cruel and terrible fate. Not just for the person afflicted with it, but those who care for them as well. In the five years since mom died, I find myself focusing on the many good memories I have and not thinking about the sad memories of how tough life became at the end. I think that's the way memories are supposed to work.

Except when they don't.

Yesterday as I was unloading the dishwasher I was stacking plates in the cupboard and was suddenly taken back.

In the last months that my mom was living with me, she became more confused and agitated. One of the ways that this was expressed was with violent outbursts that shocked me to my soul. My mom had most always been an exceedingly kind person, so to have her scream and attack me because she thought her son was "kidnapping her" took a large toll on my mental health. I couldn't resolve how the person she had been all her life would randomly disappear.

Telling myself that this "wasn't really who she was" and "it's the dementia talking" can only go so far when you're facing these challenges on a regular basis.

One of my biggest challenges was getting mom to eat.

At home, she never wanted to eat. I'd ask her what she was hungry for and she would always say she didn't want anything. Even if she hadn't eaten all day. I finally found a work-around when I realized that if we went out to a restaurant to eat, it was like a visual cue that she was supposed to be eating, and she would. So I would take her out for breakfast and dinner, but try and feed her a sandwich or snack for lunch.

As you can imagine, this became incredibly expensive. I simply couldn't afford to eat out every day. In the days leading up to payday I didn't have the funds, and tried my best to recreate the restaurant experience at home for dinner. Instead of eating on the couch in front of television, I'd set the table and try to get her to eat there. Sometimes it worked.

But sometimes it most definitely did not.

One time we were sat at the table to eat and I was trying to encourage her to try something. She became upset... then smacking dishes off the table. I tried my best to remain calm, asked her if maybe he wanted to take a nap, then lead her to her bedroom since she could never find it on her own by that point.

After the ten minutes I allowed myself to have a mental breakdown, I set to cleaning up the mess of broken glass along with the spaghetti, salad, and bread that was all over. My mom came out as I was cleaning up. I asked her if she couldn't sleep. She ignored me and asked what happened. There was no point in telling her that she had caused all this, so I said that I dropped some dishes when I was clearing the table.

Suddenly I had my mom back, and she was telling me to not feel bad as she helped me clean up.

Then she joked that maybe I should buy Corelle dishes since they wouldn't break.

Since I was running low on dishes (this was not the first time she had broken them because dementia makes you clumsy) I thought that buying Corelle was actually a great idea. So I did. And even though Corelle is not indestructible, the amount of breakage was drastically reduced.

Until even Corelle was too dangerous to risk, and I switched to Melamine plastic which is even safer from breakage (but not toxic chemicals, so there's a definite trade-off happening... but if you have dementia, it's hardly the concern it would normally be).

I still have the Melamine, which I only use when I host a barbecue or something... and even then I top them with a paper plate to protect from the toxicity you get when eating on the stuff. I still have the Corelle as well. But that's something I use daily. And it was unloading it from the dishwasher that took me back to less-than-great times, and the despair that goes along with it.

Whenever this happens, I make time to pull the photo albums I made for her from our trips and much better times...

Mom Travel Book!

Mom Travel Book!

That's my real mom right there.

And that gets me back to whatever my "normal" is now.

Categories: DaveLife 2023Click To It: Permalink


  1. Nicole says:

    That sounds like an incredibly hard situation to be in. You did so much for your lovely mom. She was lucky to have you.

  2. We went through something similar with my Dad. This post was incredibly moving Dave. Thanks for sharing it.

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