Gorgeous day today. When I approached her, sitting there in her wheelchair in the dining room, she was having a enthusiastic, one-side conversation with an unseen audience. It took a couple of tries, but she finally seemed to know who I was, and was delighted to have the dogs jump into her lap. I don’t know why they like riding in her chair, but they certainly do.
I wheeled her down to her room to drop off her summer clothes, then we went outside.
I told her about the events of my week, including the death of my friend’s much loved long time friend. She was sincerely and properly sympathetic, but of course forgot all about it within minutes.
She kept asking about her mother.
“Have you seen Mom? Did you drive here? Will you see her before you leave this part of the state? Can you call her for me? I meant to write her a note, can you do that for me?”
I hedged and fudged as much as possible, then finally, “Mother, your mom died before I was born. I never met her.”
“No! She keeps asking about you all the time. I know she’d like to hear from you.”
What to do? I said I was certain her mom and I would have loved each other very much. Tears came to her eyes. She didn’t understand. I was much older than she. Why couldn’t I help?
Who was I? Phyllis? Oh, no, that’s right, I call her “Mother.” That means I have to be younger than she is. What year is it? 1998? But what happened to all the years between then and now? And why wouldn’t I contact her mother?
We sang. Easter Parade. Oh, Susannah. Yankee Doodle. Camptown Races. Amazing Grace. She finally let got of Bicycle Built for Two long enough to fixate on Amazing Grace. She couldn’t remember the words, but giggled when she messed up the tune: “I botched that bit up, didn’t I?” We both laughed.
“Mom is so glad you can come see me, even if she can’t. I’ll tell her you were here.”
Hug and kiss. Yes, please do, Mother. We’d both like that.