Thursday, May 14, 2009

If Some Day Comes

Because of family history with Alzheimer's Disease, I wonder if some day that big, bad boy will huff and puff at my mind's door. Snarling. Insatiable. Lusting for every page of my life's story. I don't live in fear. Not paranoid. But I do care about how it could affect my precious children and grandchildren. I wonder what if... What if they call me on the telephone and in a ten-minute conversation, I tell the same anecdote three times? At first, they will feel a sense of consternation and in vain attempt to correct me. Trying to be helpful, my son will say, "Mama, you just told me about the time that Daddy was out of town, and I took the remote control apart. Then neither one of us could put it back together. Don't you remember?" No, I don't recall, and every time I tell the story, I laugh heartily. They talk to each other about what's happening to Mom. Soon, they learn to listen and to respond to my repetitions like they're hearing them for the first time. What if I call my daughter and ask, "Do we cook the ground beef before we make chili? Or do we just put the meat into the pot raw?" Panic will flood her heart as she replies, "Mom, there's no reason for you to cook. You don't need to be in the kitchen. Just rest today. I'm making a pot of chili, and I'll bring you some this afternoon. But stay out of the kitchen. Ok? Promise me, Mom." What if the time comes when I can't remember my telephone number. Or theirs. Or how to use the telephone. What if I begin to sit on the porch for hours, completely disengaged from normal, family activities? My son asks, "Mama, what are you doing?" "Just watching the clouds," I answer. What if they visit, and they tell me about all of the things that are going on in their lives, and I listen to them. But not really. Then I look into their eyes and blandly, innocently ask, "Now, who are you?" They tell me, and I steel myself to conjure just a flicker of what was once upon a time. Forcefully, I say, "Yes. Yes, of course. I know that." However, I fool no one. I know my children. They will weep. What if they kiss my cheek and I fail to respond? I just sit, devoid of the kiss's meaning and emotion. They hold my hand. They talk to me. Desperately wanting a sign. Something. Anything that will assure them that I know that they are bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh. Nothing happens. Seemingly, everything that has made me mother to them has been erased. No connection. End of story. Hopeless. They feel so hopeless. Their hearts break. What if when they hold my hand, they slip their hand around my wrist. They feel my pulse, aware of my heartbeat. My precious children, if that day comes, listen to my heart. From the moment that God formed you reverently and wonderfully inside my womb, my heart has beat only for you. The villianous disease took the stories of my mind. But not my heart. No one--nothing--no matter how covetous can steal that. My heart tells the true story: I will always know you and love you there. Sweet Dreams, Deb


  1. My grandfather suffered from Alzheimer's as well and sometimes we had to just laugh to keep from crying. Now I have left you a comment. Only if Trey will now!!

  2. Thank you for sharing about your grandfather. That had to be really tough for your family.

    Just want you to know that you are the best daughter-in-law in the whole world! We're so glad to have you in our family.

    Now about my son...