Mom doesn't seem so excited to see me this morning. When I knock on the door, I hear my dad tell her a surprise visitor is arriving. And then it is just me standing there, a familiar face whom she can’t quite place.
“Hi, Mom, your Miriam’s here,” I call as I give her a big hug. Ah, recognition.
I make a point of showing Mom photos of the family when I come. I take out my phone and show her our latest pictures. There’s the one of the big fat cat that she adores. Here’s one from last night when we took our daughter Liora out to a pub to hear Irish music.
“Who is that?” she asks, pointing to Liora.
“That’s your granddaughter Liora,” I tell her. We compare the photo of Liora as a little girl that is still on their fridge. “Liora just had a birthday. She’s 19 now.”
“Where has time gone? It’s frightening,” Mom responds.
We talk some more about relatives. When I mention my paternal grandfather, for whom Liora is named, Mom hesitantly asks if he is gone.
How profound, I think. As profound as the windows of the taxi I drove in this morning that were covered in some thin adhesive, the view of the road distorted because whoever put it on did a lousy job.
Just as I’m getting into the rhythm of profundity—that Alzheimer’s Disease destroys time; that it distorts our world view—Mom pulls me back to the present.
“I think time’s gone out for a drink.”
I stand there laughing, which is contagious. We dance around the room laughing and singing and I know that no matter what else happens today, this is the moment that I will cherish, that will sustain me as our conversation becomes illogical, as it trips over words that the mind cannot retrieve, even as she bounces between childish joy and mature, ugly anger.
Because Alzheimer’s gorges on time as if it were a sugary snack. And it corrupts reality. I struggle to see Mom in as positive a light as possible so that our time together is meaningful. At least to me.
I’ve discovered a new favorite main course—seared tuna steaks. They take only a few minutes to cook, and are surprisingly moist. It’s good to have something new to try. It takes my mind off of the emotional toll of Mom’s slipping away. As she might remember to joke: “You can tune a piano but you can’t tuna fish….”
I used to only enjoy eating salmon until I tried this recipe for tuna steaks. The trick is to put the oil on the fish, not in the pan.
4 tuna steaks, at least 1” thick
4 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp rosemary
1 Tbsp salt
½ Tbsp ground pepper
1 Tbsp cumin
1 Tbsp garlic crystals
Preheat frying pan on medium high burner. Combine spices in a small bowl. Dip both sides of tuna in spices. Rub ½ Tbsp oil on one side of steak, then flip oiled side into pan. Cook for 1½ minutes until sides of fish start to turn color and edges in the pan brown slightly. Rub remaining oil onto exposed non-cooked side then flip in pan for another 1½ minutes. Remove to plate. Can be red in middle. Drizzle lemon and a little extra oil on fish to keep moist.