When God Gives you Lemons
Mom has stopped meeting her friends for coffee on Friday mornings. And she’s stopped going to synagogue on Shabbat.
Wait. Let me rephrase that. We have decided that Mom can no longer meet her friends for coffee or attend synagogue.
It makes my heart sad to even write that. These were two activities that Mom loved, that gave her life meaning and friendship and spiritual fulfillment and were a central part of her weekly routine for decades.
The thing is, Mom is too distracted by my dad’s absence to enjoy being in the company of her women friends. She becomes agitated after only a short time and announces she’s going home. No pleas or persuasions can make her change her mind. If she leaves the company of her friends, she’ll be on her own in a city she no longer recognizes.
And so, for everyone’s comfort, these activities have been curtailed.
Mom still can and does enjoy other activities. On Monday night we attended the opening of an exhibition of my dad’s paintings at the AACI (Association of Americans and Canadians in Israel) in Netanya. The focus was on portraits, including one of Mom with a goofy smile and half-closed eyes. It is not a flattering portrait, but it captures something of her essence, with the encroaching black background a statement of her all-consuming Alzheimer’s.
The next morning, she could not remember where we had been. “Why didn’t you invite me?” she asked angrily and accusatorily.
This is the series of paintings that the audience talked about the most. Who is behind the door? What is the viewer's perspective? For more on my father's artshow, and to find a link to his blog, click here.
Mom is not in a rational place. It is now often difficult to reason with her or get her to change her mind. For example, she utterly refuses to remove her glasses when she lies down.
There must be a lot of fear involved in not understanding what’s going on around you, why people want you to behave one way and not another, why doctors want to examine your body.
But all of a sudden she comes out with the most coherent of statements: “I’m curious as to why some countries perform poorly economically.” Really? That’s what’s on your mind? How do I answer you? Will you even understand the answer?
What a roller-coaster ride this is.
The temperature in Beer Sheva hit a high of 42° Centigrade last Friday. That’s about 107° Fahrenheit! We’ve dipped to the high 30s, with a promise of more heat on the way. So how do we stay cool? We make lemonade. Here’s our recipe for a thirst-quenching drink.
Lemon trees can produce fruit all year round. Our tree has produced huge yellow monsters this year, with a crop of new fruits on their way. So, when God gives you lemons, make lemonade.
A two-liter (1/2 gallon) bottle or jug
3/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (or more for a tarter taste)
3/4 cup sugar
Mix vigorously the sugar and a small amount of water in the bottle or jug (best if you have a bottle with cap) to disolve sugar. Add lemon juice then fill bottle to the top with additional water. Chill and serve.