I took her to church yesterday. It may be the last time. Incontinence has been a problem for years, but this time it took nearly 15 minutes in the middle of the service to take care of.
I brought her home for a special birthday lunch. Mine, not hers. While the BBQ ribs were on the grill, we chatted. She knew my birthday date, and apologized for not getting me a card. I laughed and assured her it was okay. “You can’t drive, you can’t walk very far, and you can’t see!” She knew she couldn’t see, but had forgotten the other two.
“Do you know how old I am”
“Well, you must be at least in your forties.”
“If I’m in my forties, you must have been in your 60’s when you had me. So then, how old are you?” She thought a second, then said,
“Happy 75th.” Giggles all around. Then the questions started.
“Is this your own little house?”
“You just moved. Are you all unpacked yet?”
“Is this little house really yours, in your own name?”
“What name do you use now?”
“Mother, I’ve used the same name for 46 years! I’ve lived in this house for sixteen years. It’s pretty big. Don’t you remember when you lived here? Your room was upstairs.”
Flash of insight. She remembers the name Whispering Pines and her roommate’s name about half the time. She says she likes living there. She doesn’t remember how she got there or much of what went on before. She knows me, knows how to get from her chair at my breakfast table to the powder room and back, but is disoriented in any other room in my house. She is always glad to see me, never fails to thank me “for all you do,” but has little concept of the passage of time. When I show up, I’m there. When I don’t, she isn’t sure when she last saw me.
And yet, she is almost unfailingly pleasant, polite, and sociable. And sometimes remarkably witty.
While we were eating, she spit something out into her napkin. “I think it was a hair,” she said. In a house with four remaining animals, it’s quite possible.
“It was a tasty hair, though.” Grin!
Then something buzzed around my ear. I let out a squeal and batted at it.
“What’s wrong?” she asked.
“I think it’s a mosquito.”
Her response? “More meat!”
Above: William (sitting) and Gigi (lying down)