‘I tell her I have her ring and she starts crying’: Daughter recounts mom with dementia’s anguish over beloved ‘missing’ ring

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I stopped by to see Mom and Dad yesterday and fix them some dinner. Mom was playing with a ring she always wears — it has all six of her children’s birthstones. One of the prongs was sticking up a bit and she kept playing with it. She asked me to fix it and I said I could take it to a jeweler to have it fixed this week. She said it wouldn’t come off her finger. I asked her to try and it slipped right off. I put it on my finger and showed her that I had it and would get it fixed for her.

Fast forward to my evening phone call to them to remind Dad to give her her pills before bed. He is doing something while I’m on the phone with him and I’m trying to get his attention. He does what he always does:

Dad –  “Here, say hello to your mom.”

Me – “No, no, no dad, I need to know if she took her pills.”

Too late, a sweet voice comes on the phone.

Mom – “Hello.”

Me – “Hi Mom. Did you take your pills?”

Mom – “I think so.”

Me – “Can I talk to Dad?”

Mom – “He’s busy.”

Then this happens.

Mom – “Do you know the girl that was here today? She was standing near me. She was nice.”

Me – “Why mom?”

Mom – “I’m not sure. I had a ring…”

Me – “Mom, I have your ring.”

Mom – “What? I’m going to cry. You have my ring? Carl, she has my ring.”

Dad – (out of breath) “What.”

Me – “Mom, put dad on the phone. (Dad gets on) Dad, I have her ring. I told her I would get it fixed.”

Dad – “She has had me looking for it for the past 2 hours.”

This is his life. It was my mistake not to tell him I was taking her ring. I know how she is about the jewelry she wears. I forgot. Dad puts her back on the phone so he can catch his breath. I tell her I have her ring and she starts crying — a relieved, happy crying. She said she is so happy I found it. I tell her again I will get it fixed for her. She passes the phone back to dad.

I remind dad to remember I have her ring because she is going to forget again and she will want him to look for it again. I also remind him to give her her bedtime pills. He tells me he did. I can’t imagine what it feels like every night when she is finally in bed and he crawls in next to her and is able to close his eyes for an hour or two before she needs him again.”

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Becky Gacono of Annville, Pennsylvania. She is chronicling her mother’s dementia journey on their Facebook page and in a series of posts for Love What Matters:

Family combats mom’s painful dementia journey with humor

‘They are two that have become one’: A day in the life of my mom’s dementia journey

‘It was my birthday when she no longer knew my name or who I was.’

‘His love for her is palpable’: Doting husband’s explicit instructions for wife with dementia’s morning routine

‘We finally get to the kitchen table and their sandwiches are out and ready to eat. Then this happened.’

‘I never thought I’d get to kiss an angel’: Daughter overhears midnight whispers between mom with dementia and dad

‘I realize love is the most powerful, the most exhausting, the most incredible way to live your life’

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