I saw Mom earlier this Summer, brought some flowers and she was delighted to see us. "Oh Hi honey….what's doin? Good, good good. This is her standard answer no matter what you say. We visited briefly but then had to go get a vase and water for the flowers. We were not gone longer than 5 minutes.
When we came back with the vase of flowers it was as though we were there for the first time. “Oh hi honey…. good to see you. It's been awhile.”
I suppose one could get sad about the fact she didn't recall. Instead I choose to celebrate that she is truly living in a very present moment. With nary a recollection about the past. Even the one that happened seconds ago. And why not? If that is all she can retain, (which is kind of nothing) well then so be it. Let the miniscule of now be enough. A fragment of time, held together by a thread. A filament strong enough for the breath and that's all it needs to be.
The difference between now and five years ago is measurable. But one is not better than the other. We as a family walk alongside her as best we know how. The remarkable people at Bethany Village are doing the same. So as you read this story from 2018, remember that even you are not the same. I can't expect my 93 year old mother to not have changed. I'd be surprised if she didn't.
Phone in the Cradle……. January 2018
They are sparkling, yet meandering, conversations with Mom. I never know which ones will show up. They are short most times, but every now and then we wander together off the well worn path. Recently was such a time. I have to be sharp and see the opening, yet gently take hold of her hand and tug her through. It is delightful in how willingly she follows me. Somehow she knows it is a safe place.
I mentioned that I had Aunt Ceil’s (her sister) old phone on my desk.
“Which one?” Mom said.
I said it was the old black one with the rotary dial.
“Oh, the phone in the cradle?”
Yes Mom, the phone in the cradle, though don’t think anybody says that much anymore do they?
“Do you know why?” She asked.
And before I could answer she quipped…..
“Because the phone ain’t got no cradle anymore does it?”
We both laughed heartily as her wit came through for her. It was a stellar moment. For that little thirty-second exchange she was completely at peace and as funny as could be. It was almost breathtaking.
Then she drifted back away. We talked, as we always do, about her moving to Bethany Village. She used the oft repeated phrase…”I think I made the right choice.” And once again I affirmed her decision. Only this time she whispered, “Thank you, you and Debbie helped me make it….. Okay honey, well it’s time for dinner or something…. I love you…. Click.
I love you too Mom…….And there I sat…………. wiping away a few smiling tears...cradling the phone.
PS. (2023) I don't call her much anymore. One thing she's never in her room. The other? I think it's too confusing. So the phone is still in the cradle.