I’ve been away from home off and on the last month with little computer time. I’ve split the last month between Vegas and Salt Lake. I love my smart phone and it gets me by but there’s some things easier to do on the computer than the phone. Blogging is one of them.
My boyfriend’s parents live in Vegas. His mother is about 1/3 of a way into the Alzheimer’s journey. She wound up in the hospital for unrelated reasons for almost a month. It set her back a little more mentally and left her weak. Ken’s siblings took turns helping out with the hospital stay. Ken took that last little bit of hospital stay then stayed at their house a few weeks longer to help out while everyone adjusted to a new reality.
His mother is a sweetheart even with all that went on. The first week home was the roughest. She seemed lost and unfocused. At point, her and I sat around the breakfast table alone and I started making chit-chat with her. I said something (can’t remember what) and smiled. It wasn’t something meant to be funny but she looked at me and laughed without her eyes and I knew immediately she didn’t understand…she faked it.
Of course I’d catch this right away having lived the first part of my hard of hearing life faking it. We don’t want people know we didn’t understand, we don’t want to burden people with repeats or explanations and we feel stupid for hearing but not understanding. We feel broken but we don’t to appear broken so we fake it. I have a ‘faking it’ laugh. I have faking comments I can use for general purposes such as “Really?” and “Wow.” Those two words can cover a lot and gloss over the fact I didn’t hear.
In the world of hearing loss this is common but I never expected it outside of my world. It took me by surprise to see her fake it but at the same time, I thought, why not? She’s confused, she’s weak, her concentration level wasn’t there. I can totally see why she faked it.
Then incredible sadness came over me. Faking it means feeling alone with other people, wanting to fit in but can’t quite. I wanted to get up and give her a hug but didn’t. It might confuse her further, I’m coming into the family kind of late and I also know they weren’t a touchy/feel-y family for a long time. In short, I felt awkward but now I’m thinking I should have gone with my instincts and given her that hug anyway.
Not long after, I came back to Salt Lake to take care of a few things and a little over a week later went back down to help out again. His mother seemed much stronger, she joined conversations and started helping out some in the kitchen again. I still see the faking it part pop out but only occasionally and mostly when she’s tired, kind of like me. It makes me wonder, who else uses ‘faking it’ to get by?