When you enter a home where someone with Alzheimer’s lives, you never know what you’ll get….
I unlocked the door and let myself into Mom and Dad’s and then searched the house for Dad’s book cartridge from the Library for the Blind, which Dad had mentioned earlier on the phone, had disappeared.
Poor Dad has put locks on bedroom doors and drawers these days, because Mom wants to get into everything and then moves things or throws them away. This would be tough enough for a seeing person to deal with, but Dad has almost no vision left.
After I gave up searching I sat down in the living room and visited with Mom, giving Dad a chance to get some of his own things done. Mom chatted away, holding her baby doll, Annabel, up in the air by her knees, the dolls face upside down near Mom’s. “What do you do when you do?” I heard Mom ask Annabel.
After a while Mom came and sat by me in the love seat. I asked her who her daddy was and she knew his full name with no hesitation. She knew her mama’s name, too and her hometown, which she usually doesn’t. And though she has usually been able to name her nine siblings if I started her with the oldest brother’s name, today she couldn’t.
I said, “Who are your brothers?”
“There’s too many of ‘em,” Mom said, giving up before she started.
“Delbert….” I said to start her.
“Yes….” Mom acknowledged. “They’re crazy. All of ‘em.”
But Mom did remember my middle name was Lynn, when I told her I was Cheryl. I always find that unreasonably reassuring. And she kept licking her finger and then trying to clean freckles off my arm with it. She patted my arm and laughed with me. She grabbed my sleeve and wiped her nose on it, before I could stop her.
At one point Mom suddenly said, out of the blue, “Those bums!”
“What bums?” I asked.
“In D——-(the name of her home town) , Louisiana!” She’s never said anything like that before. Who knows where it came from.
Bath time was the normal adventure/trauma. But afterwards when I told Mom I loved her, she answered, “I love you, too.” And then she said a little later, “I want Raymon. He likes me.”
In all the confusion and messiness and craziness of Alzheimer’s Mom always remembers that she wants to be near Dad, her Raymon. And she knows that he likes her. What a sweet comfort.
And in all the confusion and messiness and craziness of life the one thing I want to always remember is that there is no better place to be than close to my Abba Father. And there’s no better comfort than knowing He loves me.