The first ingredient in conversation is truth;
the next, good sense;
the third, good humour;
and the fourth, wit.
Sir William Temple
I am sure you all know by now that my Mom has Alzheimer’s and lives in a place that is incredible with loving caring staff, excellent security and I have to say a real sense of her own home. Alzheimer’s has many challenges but there is one thing that bothers me the most I think and that is wondering what Mom will remember and how our conversations will go. I do worry when I am not able to visit for a while because I am out of town so when I get back I make sure I have a large chunk of time to spend and catch up. Monday was that day after all the running around with the wedding, the move etc etc. Oh how I love that time with Mom.
I walked into the bright sunny room and Mom was lying in bed, it was near lunch time so I knew we would be trying to get her up and I could spend time with her. One of the staff who I now refer to as family asked if I would like to join the house for lunch and she would throw an extra potato in the pot. I declined as I had just finished a sandwich, I told you this place was just like home.
I remember my Grandma used to cook for no one in particular but always had something simmering on her back burner hoping someone would drop in to eat. I loved those wonderful smells that floated around the air coming from her kitchen and my always sitting down to a bowl of something while she watched me with a big smile enjoying every bite. Just like home, I knew the decision to have Mom move into this place was the right one.
Back to my visit with Mom, my mind drifts these days. I said Hi Mom wondering if she knew who I was and always hoping she does, I think this has to be the hardest part for family members. I remember she forgot who I was once and that was four years ago but it still left an ache in my heart and still makes me sad to this very day. Today however she smiled and when I started to talk about the wedding (I did that on purpose trying to trigger her memories) she smiled a huge smile and replied “The wedding the cows came to” that is just what I wanted to hear. We talked a long time about the wedding where the conversation kept revolving around the cows and how beautiful the bride was in her satiny gown. Oh this conversation was wonderful not only had Mom remembered that day but she remembered the event that we all needed as a family to forget the past few years of turmoil and loss. Mom was beaming while talking about those cows mooing through the whole ceremony. My heart was singing.
Lunch was a bowl of delicious potato soup; Mom as usual took two spoonfuls, even with all my coaxing she never tried anymore, she lay back down. I munched on her cookies trying to tempt her to have one, no luck another Alzheimer’s thing is to not eat and that is where we sit these days, it is the scary one for me. She fell asleep for a bit. I left for a while to let her rest.
About an hour later I came back to see if I could tempt her to eat something else but she just wanted to sleep more. I asked if I could have a nap with her she said “Oh yes jump in, just don’t push me out of bed” and I snuggled close to her. I gently rested my arm over her skeletal little shoulders and we talked about cows and gowns till one by one we both drifted off to sleep. My dreaming of days gone by and how much love was in that room while she, well I am not at all sure, Alzheimer’s has changed all that.