This is not fiction… My husband suggested I write about her (although, not quite like this).***
My mother in law (MIL) passed away last week. She was in her eighties, lived in a nursing home, and in her own world. She had been in her own world for a long time, but she didn’t always live there.
My MIL married young, had five children, and was always slightly paranoid (the faint murmurings of “bats in the attic” started very early on). We had a good relationship for many years. I actually had a better relationship with her than my husband did. She and I did a lot of things together — road trips to Las Vegas, shopping, and tons of other things. She was a lot of fun in those years. I am thankful for those memories.
Everything changed, for all of us, when she had bacterial meningitis the second time. (Yes, she had it twice). She survived the first bout unscathed. She was a completely different person after the second bout. That’s when the “bats in the attic” came to stay.
As I mentioned, she was always slightly paranoid. After her 2nd round with meningitis, she was a changed woman and she no longer hid her paranoia. She worried about earthquakes (unreasonably), she worried about her neighbors, she worried about the water she drank. Only her worry wasn’t normal. It was exaggerated. She made life for my father-in-law (FIL) miserable, due to the paranoia. She couldn’t quell the panic and paranoia that would ring in her head, as she started to believe the voices of the “bats in the Attic.”
My MIL had one final, simple bout of the flu, that pushed her over the edge of sanity and we couldn’t grab her hands fast enough to bring her back to reality. She wanted to stay with the “bats in the attic,” they were comfortable and familiar, so she did.
When she went to the home (my FIL went to live with our nephew), she was put on medication that we thought would bring her back to the present. It didn’t. She grew worse. She believed that she was being pursued by Al Qaeda, she would try to escape, she would hide, she would yell. On occasion she thought she was being poisoned and would refuse her medication. She rarely recognized the family and she was downright nasty. But, it wasn’t her. It was cacophony of the “bats in the attic.” They had taken over.
My FIL passed away a few months back. I’m not sure she was ever told that he died. I’m not sure the “bats in the attic” would have allowed her to know.
The family tried to have patience, but it is hard when someone you care about has checked out of the present, and is in their own world.
The “bats in the attic” had full control of her and did until last week, when she died.
***This is what my husband sent to me via text message on what to write: “My mom, bats in the attic, end of story.”