Omicron has reduced us to one visit a week at Mom’s memory care facility, and I’ve been encouraging my dad to be the weekly visitor. I glimpsed Mom on a quick online call last week. It was such a relief to see her but she doesn’t understand technology anymore and it was difficult to communicate.
Mom’s situation is not going to change. Even in the five-minute call, it was obvious that though time had passed, Mom was not aware of it. She still remembers that we’re her people, she just doesn’t remember the particular relationships we have.
All visits are now outside, which means that Mom gets a little sun, but she also becomes sleepy. And the staff has become much more strict about keeping visits to a half hour only.
It’s hard to gauge the devastation that COVID has wrought to our relationship. We have less physical interaction, which means less emotional interaction. There is also a gap in our understanding of Mom’s daily life. We don’t know how much she’s being stimulated in her facility, if she listens to enough music, or how her moods are.
This is a strange liminal place in which we exist for each other. We are not together. We are not apart. We are alive. We are in mourning. We are waiting for the passing of time, for the inevitable decline.
If I could have one wish, it would be to visit Mom with no limitations. In fact, that’s my hope for her birthday next month. I want to hug and kiss her and bring her joy, even though I know she won’t retain any memory of our visits. Seeing her is better than not seeing her. Feeling this swirling clutch of emotions is better than not feeling at all. We measure our moments in tiny crumbs of interaction. And when even those don’t exist, our relationship is strained beyond repair.
Speaking of crumbs, I’ve started making a new triple-chocolate brownie recipe. It’s a good distraction to the vagaries of life. You’ll definitely want to eat all the crumbs, too.
Triple Chocolate Brownies
Definitely an amazing recipe for chocolate lovers. I make mine non-dairy but I’m sure it would be amazing with butter and milk chocolate chunks.
100 gr / ½ cup margarine
100 gr / ½ cup canola oil
200 gr / 7 oz chocolate chips
1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
½ cup flour
¼ cup cocoa powder (sifted if lumpy)
1 bar of your favorite chocolate, broken into chunks
Pinch of salt
Preheat oven to 350° / 180°. In a large microwave-proof bowl, melt chocolate chips, margarine, and vanilla. Start with 30 seconds on high, and repeat until melted. Blend well. Stir in sugar, eggs and salt. Slowly add dry ingredients until batter is mixed. Break the chocolate bar into chunks (hammers are good for this!) and mix into batter. Pour into pan and back for 30 minutes, less if you want a gooey center.