She is cognitively impaired. Is it Alzheimer's? I don't know for sure. Three or four years ago, when she was still high functioning but beginning to fail, she got furious if anyone mentioned she should see a doctor.
Now she's far worse. Her phone is her lifeline. She is on social media constantly, commenting on everything -- even when she doesn't understand it. I try to protect her by hiding most of her comments and straight-up deleting others. Most of the time, it's Melanie who is guiding me.
But this morning I woke up to her splashing all caps all over my Facebook feed: I DO NOT USE MESSENGER. I seethed but just clicked delete, delete, delete to every one of her comments. Here's the thing -- Kathy does use Messenger. All the time. She sent me an IM yesterday via Messenger about my cat and I responded with a "thumbs up," which somehow pissed her off.
Then I checked my phone and there was a text: NO MESSENGER! I DO NOT USE MESSENGER!
We just did this last month. She sent me an IM via Messenger asking me what books I'd recommend. Now let's face it: Kathy no longer retains anything she reads, so nothing I say will make any difference. But I didn't want to hurt her feelings by ignoring her. Since Messenger upsets her so, I sent her an email that began: You sent me a Facebook IM asking me about books, but I know you don't like receiving IMs so I'm answering you here ...
Her response: Thanks for the books but what is an IM?
Her response: Thnx, Gal.
Here we are weeks later, doing the same thing. If I ignore her, she's going to hound me about why we are no longer "connected." So how to answer?
I admit I was feeling distinctly Scarlett. I wanted to say, "Oh, shut up!" I wanted to say, "Listen, I don't care if I never hear from you ever again."
But I took a deep breath and stopped myself. Instead I texted back: I do not initiate Facebook Messenger messages. What I sent you yesterday was in response to the one you sent me.
Her response: Thnx, Gal.
I know we will go through this again in a week or two. What is especially disturbing to me is that Kathy has more than 100 Facebook friends. It's depressing to contemplate how many other people have explained to her -- repeatedly -- that she does use Messenger.
God, I wish someone in her family would delete Facebook from her fucking phone. See? There's Scarlett again. I'm glad Melanie is sitting on my shoulder, reminding me that it costs me nothing to be kind to a 76-year-old woman who is doing her best and must feel frightened and isolated.