Me Grandma?

Brothers and sisters I have none,
But that woman’s mother is my mother’s daughter.

Another Woman by Amanda Heng

The other day when talking to me Mom referred to my daughter as H__.

Now H__  is my paternal aunt who used to live with us when I was a child. Now with grown children of her own, my aunt is living in another city and we last saw her a couple of years back.

Mom said her name so naturally, she was not aware anything was amiss.

That set me wondering, was Mom transported back in time to the years my aunt was living with us? If so, and Mom thought my daughter was her sister-in-law, did she think I was her mother-in-law?

Am I now mistaken for my GRANDMA??

Or perhaps Mom just affixed the name to my daughter, as there is some physical resemblance between my daughter and my aunt. That would indicate Mom is no longer able to distinguish clearly between some people.

It is quite a sobering thought.


17 thoughts on “Me Grandma?”

  1. Very interesting photograph. My sister often calls me by her daughter’s name. My mother calls me by her sister’s name. I occasionally blurted out the wrong name when addressing one of my four children. It’s more about the habit than any cognitive associations, I think. I suppose the difference is in recognizing the mistake…or not.


    1. I agree the difference is whether we are aware. I have made similar mistakes too! Transposing one generation on another and miscalling someone. Feel very embarrassed when it happens.


  2. My father calls me by his sisters names though they are in their 80s. I do believe they are transported back to a time when the person was younger and their may be a slight resemblance to them. It comes and goes but I find the loss of my true identity was a hard part of this illness.


  3. While doing some reading about people with dementia it talked about they often think they’re in another part of their life and it’s common for them to think their children are siblings. It suggested asking them questions like, do you have brothers and sisters? Or do you have children? It might help you know if they’re reliving another part of their life. Sadly, when I tried it with my mom it didn’t help at all. It may with some though. I’d give it a try. My mom sometimes calls my sister “mom”. One of her brothers lived with her for a while and she never could accept that was her brother. We think because she could only remember him in his younger years as he’d spent many years living in another town. Go with the flow isn’t always easy but the best way I’ve found too. Acceptance.
    May you find peace as you continue to navigate these uncertain waters.


  4. I am newly acquainted with your site and congratulations for mapping your experiences. I wish I had.
    To my way of thinking, it hardly matters who your Mom thinks you are. The main thing is that when she is with you she feels safe and that she knows you are someone who is good to be with!
    My Mum had Alzheimer’s and vascular dementia and later on in her ten-year experience, she wasn’t sure who I was – her sister? her daughter? her mother? (we all shared the same name) but this was largely irrelevant because she always greeted me warmly, as I did her. We both knew that we felt deep affection for one another and actually, that’s what is important.
    I had to learn how to “be in the moment”, in HER reality. Not easy, but definitely worth the effort. More of this sort of thing on Twitter and here:


    1. Thank you for commenting, Sarah. I am not bothered too much about not being recognised, But it does suggest a sort of blending of different people in my mother’s mind. I am surprised at the possibility of being “combined” with my grandma, though we do share similar physique. During a recent conversation, I noted my mother “blended” her brother’s family with her brother-in-law’s family, because they both had two daughters. Their histories meshed and combined. It was amazingly coherent, yet only I knew the facts were off.
      I will check out your website 🙂


  5. It’s not only what you said, but the way you said it that prompted me to write this message. You have a novel way of describing things. Keep it up and thanks for sharing it.


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