Sometimes, life can be so simple. When Mom and Daddy came to visit me this week, it was all about being together. All my errands, pressing issues, even housework got put on the back burner.
“This place reminds me of somewhere I’ve visited,” Mom said as we sat in my living room.
Where do we go from here? Do I tell her this is my home, that she’s been here countless times over the last twenty years? Or do I just gloss over it? When she lost her way from the bathroom back to the adjacent bedroom she was staying in, I made a joke of it. Standing in the hallway, I offered her a choice. “Is Daddy behind door no. 1, door no. 2, or door no. 3?” Then I opened the correct door, and we both laughed.
Mom had great fun petting my cats. Every time one of the cats meowed, Mom asked if they were hungry or needed attention. She wanted to feed them at the table (something we don’t allow) from her own plate. It brought out her empathy in spades.
We also made sure Mom listened to music she enjoys. Mom sang all of My Fair Lady, including her favorite, “Wouldn’t it be Loverly,” with a funny Cockney accent. She couldn’t remember Julie Andrew’s name, or even Ella Fitzgerald, who we also listened to, though she knew all the words.
Mom is as frustrated as we are by her inability to remember events. Ask her what we’d done an hour before and she couldn’t tell you. Ask her if she needed or wanted anything and you’d get a vague response. When we started talking about things she couldn’t remember, she wanted us to clue her in. “Was I there? Did I go too?” she asked. When we explained where we’d been and who we’d seen, she still didn’t necessarily remember. She kept apologizing for being a burden.
Alzheimer’s is robbing Mom not only of her memory but of her ability to function within societal norms. She wore two pair of underwear and a bra under her nightgown. She had two showers in the morning because she couldn’t remember taking the first, even though she was still wet. She wanted to dress in the same clothes she’d worn yesterday. She had two successive cups of tea. She washed the dishes without soap or a sponge.
The circle of our lives is shrinking. Events on a national or international scale quickly fade away. The past and the future are almost non existent. What remains, for now, are the strong emotional bonds we have for one another. And our desire to enjoy each other’s company.
This week, in honor of the end of our war with Hamas, and in support of “The Humus Challenge,” I offer you a home-made humus recipe. Enjoy!
Humus is one of those dishes that take on the personality of the maker. Dress it up with olive oil and paprika, olive oil, zatar and sesame seeds, fried mushrooms and onions, or tehina. Or be totally Israeli and scoop it up with a pita fresh from the oven.
2 550-gr cans pre-cooked chickpeas, one drained, one with half the liquid
3 Tbsp raw tehina
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp lemon juice
2-3 cloves garlic
1 tsp cumin (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste
¼ cup pine nuts
Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until creamy. If you want it creamier, add a little water. Place humus in a shallow bowl and, using a spoon, create an indentation in the middle of the bowl. Drizzle olive oil and paprika into the indentation. Add pine nuts for effect.