I’m having a hard time getting started this year, like when you try to start a car in winter, and it makes that sound like “ahggssjssddddddddd” (you know, I can’t describe sounds). Anyway, it’s tough for me. Between job hunting, knowing I only have a month left of unemployment with no prospects, my mother’s health deteriorating, and now dealing with haters on my TikTok account saying I’m a bad person for exposing my mother’s situation and profiting from it (haha). I’m sorry; the latter is super funny. I’m thinking of taking a screenshot of the funds I have on TikTok: 0.06 cents, haha… Anyway, I will now to tell you what I have decided while I continue with the Caregiver Chronicles.
I don’t understand haters, and I don’t want them to win, but I also don’t think it’s good for my mental health to read negative comments daily. The truth is, I started making videos to have fun with my mother; she loved participating. We dressed up, did live sessions, and she enjoyed herself a lot, and we both laughed together, not at the illness but at life itself. The thing is, she doesn’t interact anymore, hardly speaks. So the other day, when someone commented during a live session, “Is your mother dead, and are we watching a funeral?” hahaha, I knew I had to take action. At that moment, I realized people now no longer understand what is going on, especially if they haven’t followed us from the beginning.
So, for a while, I’ve decided not to make videos with her. I’ll just make videos talking about who my mother was. For now, the almost 25k followers we have have known her at her worst, and I want to show that she was a very cheerful and fun person, not just an elderly woman with Alzheimer’s. I’ll start a series of videos gradually telling her life story with some photos, and I’ve decided to include some of these stories in these Caregiver Chronicles because it’s about learning what life is like with a person with Alzheimer’s but also knowing who that person is.
So, this is the first part…
My mother was born in Madrid on January 10th, 1937 (interesting because my birthday is on October 1, so she’s 10-1, and I’m 1-10; in the U.S., you write the month first and then the day, so sometimes it is confusing haha).
Carmen Soria 1937
*Interesting note, in this photo, you will see that she has 5 fingers on each hand, that's because she drew them!
She was born with only 4 fingers on each hand, and back then, they couldn’t do much; nowadays, I don’t know if they could have done more. She always remembers how they operated on her to close the gap between her fingers a bit, and she says they didn’t anesthetize her; they told her to look up so she wouldn’t see anything, but there was a lamp on the ceiling with a mirror, and she saw everything. Since then, she’s been afraid of needles. When she would have to get her blood drawn she would be freaked out for weeks, haha.
First Communion Carmen Soria with her sister circa 1946 (no idea?? haha)
She’s the eldest of a sister who is a year younger and lives in Madrid (she’s doing great). Even though she’s the oldest, her sister was always the one in charge, and my mother followed. She always went along with everyone (a shame), she was too kind.
My grandparents (mother's parents) dating circa 1934 (I don't know, somewhere around there)
My grandparents Serafín and Maruja (same ones jaja)
My grandparents never treated my mother as if she had a disability, so she never felt different. However, during her childhood, she was very shy and would hide her hands by putting them in her pockets or wearing gloves. During the war, like all Spaniards, they had a hard time and went hungry, but she said she didn´t have bad memories of that.
As far as I know, she had a good childhood and loved her father, my grandfather Serafín, who was a sweetheart (he reminds me a lot of my son). They went on many field trips, and they were a very close-knit family. I was fortunate to meet both of them, and truly, they were very affectionate grandparents. The only thing I asked my grandmother for as an inheritance was her old photo album (phew, that’s another story; there are photos from 1890 in there, I didn’t even know there were cameras back then, haha).
Photo album I inherited
(older than dirt, haha, yes,
I have to restore it.).
I can’t tell you much more about her childhood, but I’m always open to answering comments. Next week, more…
*You can see all my mom´s content in my Alzheimer Project page in this blog, you can also see all the Caregiver´s Chronicles as well.