I understand it better now. We had a way of looking at and talking to Mom as if she were simple, as if the intelligent being who we knew her to be had somehow vanished. We couldn’t understand how she could get so many things wrong. We’d act incredulous that she couldn’t comprehend the most basic things. This happened years before her diagnosis, before we’d entertained the notion that perhaps these memory lapses were a prelude to Alzheimer’s. Except that now I understand. I un
“Should we wake her up?” I asked my daughter. Mom was sleeping soundly, her earphones planted on her ears playing her special mix of show tunes and Klezmer, her eyes tightly closed. How tired she must be, I thought, not to hear all the noise around her. The TV was babbling in Russian. Residents were talking in their intensive nonsensical ways. Two of the nurses were trying gently to extricate crayons from the mouth of one fellow. Another resident was calling loudly for lunch.
Have you ever sat with someone who took their time eating, relishing every bite, savoring every forkful? It gave me pause in the rush of our hectic day to eat dinner with Mom. Actually, I’m not sure that Mom enjoyed eating her dinner, but there we were, just the two of us, me gobbling down my food while she slowly and inexorably raised each morsel to her mouth. Mom ate with an unthinking nature, separating lettuce from the carrots in her salad, eating the cut vegetables piece
Mom’s watch is missing. The digital gold-plated watch she got from her sister as a birthday present a few years ago. Gone. We’ve looked in all the “regular” places: under her pillow, in the depths of her handbag, the refrigerator. Nothing. Perhaps it’s just as well. Mom can still tell time, but I’m not sure how significant knowing time is for her. She doesn’t remember the year or the month. She doesn’t even remember what day it is. She tells time by whether it’s dark or light
It was so much fun catching up with my aunt Barbara—Mom’s real sister—who is visiting with her partner Brian that I almost forgot to interact with Mom. We did our share of laughing and singing, but my focus was directed elsewhere, and I was reminded again how fragile, how tenuous is Mom’s connection to reality. These are heady days for Israel. Today is Yom Hazikaron, the national day of remembrance for soldiers and victims of terror. Last night, at the start of Memorial Day,
...and a helping of baked salmon. I hadn’t intended to enjoy myself taking Mom to her weekly concert, but the enthusiasm of the tenor (which made up for his lack of talent) and the fantastic piano accompaniment won me over. The concerts are usually on Mondays, but this week’s was postponed to Tuesday due to Holocaust Remembrance Day. Mom loves these “Music at Midday” concerts that are organized by She’arim Netanya. Even though she’s now a non-functioning member, she’s still o