Friday, March 11, 2011
I'd visit her and the same book would be bookmarked to the same page as it was during my last visit the week before. Resistance by Anita Shreve. It hadn't moved an inch on her end table, and I didn't have the heart to take it back, even if she wouldn't have missed it. Used to be she'd devour a book in a couple of days. We'd traded books back and forth for years. I couldn't bring her enough and she read just about anything but always loved something with a little romance. We'd sit and talk about all the books we'd read over Diet Cokes. Our own little book club, she and I.
Then we learned she couldn't drive anymore so we sold her car. Holidays would come and go and she'd forget how to cook dishes that she'd cooked for years--all of our favorites like mashed potatoes, cranberry relishes, and delicious cakes. She couldn't remember what she cooked the day before. She didn't remember if she needed milk or butter or something for dinner. She forgot birthdays. She forgot anniversaries. Sometimes she even forgot our names.
And then every once in a while, even as she sat listening to all the conversation around her, her eyes would brighten and she'd be back. She flickered like a candle. I'd reach for her soft hand and I'd think, I've missed you, Mom. Please stay a while. Don't go away. Don't forget...
If you have parents, please hug them as soon as you can. If you're dealing with a loved one who has dementia or Alzheimer's, I'm sending you a virtual hug today. Stressing about an unfinished manuscript or word counts seems unimportant today.