Friday, October 21, 2016

I'll remember it for you

From February 29, 2016

Every day, I write on the whiteboard in the kitchen how many days left until mom's birthday. She is excited about her birthday because Wendy is coming home. Every morning she asks me if her birthday is tomorrow.

She talks about having a party. She is planning what to wear. After a lot of discussion, the four of us kids decided to have a family party of the kids and grandkids at her new house. Mom talks about having a big party, because this is a big birthday. I never tell her we aren't having one. I tell her "Wendy is coming home for your birthday" and "we're all going to celebrate your big one, mom"

Big events are too hard on her. She doesn't recognize people and the constant strain of hiding that she doesn't remember wears her down. She can't cope with a lot of noise or coming and going. And, painfully, she won't remember it anyway. Last year, I drove from Dayton to Cincinnati, and then to Glenwood, IN to take her to a reunion. We were there all day. We drove 2 hours to get home, and she said in the car "we should get together with my family sometime, it would be great to see them all." No recall of the reunion we just left. When I show her pictures she says, "we sure had fun," but she doesn't remember the fun.

So, we're 8 days from mom's 80th birthday Today, I wrote on the whiteboard in the kitchen "8 days to 80!!" She said "that's a lot of 8s." She tells me she doesn't feel like that number. She says "When I say that number out loud, I can't believe it. I feel just like I always did."

Then, she tells me about her grandma Martha Tincher.

"She was always old seeming to me. She wore her hair scraped back in a bun. She wore long dresses that came almost to her ankles and they were mostly dark colored. She wore black lace up shoes with low heels--witchy shoes, I think kids call them now.

She died in her sleep, you know. I remember we used to stay over at her house, so she wouldn't be alone. I am older now than she was when I thought she was old."

She says "Buelah was sleeping with her when she died. I was glad it wasn't me."

I am confused by this--Buelah is my mom's aunt, not her cousin. I have heard these stories in the past and it was Fred Harold, a cousin, that couldn't wake grandma Martha. I ask her "Buelah was sleeping with grandma?' Sometimes a casual restatement of what she just said will get more info from her.
She turned on me "What are you talking about? Buelah didn't even know your Grandma Mabel" (other side of the family, my dad's mom) So now we're on sand. I have no idea how we've shifted, but she is really irritated. I say "Oh, I'm sorry, I thought you meant Grandma Martha."

She says "Grandma Martha is dead." She died when we were little. Don't you remember that?"
She is still irate and she thinks I am her sister Patty. I say "no, I don't remember. I'm sorry. How old was she when she died?" She pats me on the arm. She says "Never mind, we all forget things when we get old. I'll remember it for you. I remember Grandma Martha. She was always seemed old to me."

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