July 27, 2014: It’s been a tough day, and it’s not my intention to bring Mom to my place for dinner but that’s where we end up.
As we eat, there’s an unexpected break in the clouds. She searches for words. I watch her, wait out the long pauses, count my heartbeats. Pieces of gobbledegook interlock to form a demented jigsaw puzzle. I decode and interpret. Images take shape. A deep and meaningful conversation ensues. It’s emotional and revealing. I’m reminded to remember she’s still here even though mostly it may appear she’s not. I’m grateful I began recording our conversations several years ago as way of remembering our journey. After dinner I take her to “the peeps.”
Once that piece of business is done, she closes her eyes so I can remove a bit of who-knows-what that’s stuck to a bottom lash. When I ask her to open them again I look into her soul without knowing it. “Hello,” we say to each other like we’ve just met, forgetting we’ve spent the last several hours and two entire lifetimes together. That’s one a kind of cool thing about Alzheimer – you can start with a clean slate pretty much anytime. I ask her if she’s ready to go.
“I think so, soon,” she says.
“Okay good,” I say. “Let’s head out that way.”
“Are you going to be alright going out?” she asks.
“Yes, I’m going to be alright,” I’m confident. “Are you going to be alright?”
“I don’t know what I’ll be doing.” She’s honest.
“Then let’s hold hands.”
We shuffle our way out of the bathroom and the bedroom and into the hall on our way to the ramp and the car. She ambushes me at the front entrance. I’m on the outside, having already stepped over the threshold. She’s on the inside about to cross when she stops in her tracks and starts to talk. I don’t know why I pause and ask her to elaborate. Maybe it’s the tone of her voice. Perhaps it’s intuition. Whatever the reason, I stand there frozen in a surreal time and place, my hands in hers, my right foot wedged under the screen door to hold it open. In a couple of minutes it will start to rain. In the meantime, I’m amazed by her words and mine and by what love sounds like. My heart cracks open about half way through:
July 27, 2014