Today’s post is Part of a 31 Day writing series where I will choose moments from my life and let them be my writing prompt for the day. One of the facts of life these days, is that my Mother has Alzheimer’s and much of life is focused around her, which means she could very well be the source of many of my writing prompts. My goal when sharing stories about my mother is to give her identity, dignity and personality, all things that the Alzheimer’s is only too ready to steal from her. My hope is that in sharing some of her story those who know her will be comforted and those who may be going through a similar battle will be encouraged. Because, in spite of it all, there are good days. And, there is grace. Always, God’s grace.
Today she made me laugh.
Some days my mom makes me laugh. Other days she makes me cry. Oh, she doesn’t mean to make me cry, but the Alzheimer’s sometimes wreaks havoc. So, when there is a day we can laugh I count that a good day.
The whole process of how Alzheimer’s plays with the mind is fascinating. You watch the memories fade from color to black and white and eventually dissipate and crumble like old photos left too long in the light. You deal with the confusion and forgetfulness. And, sometimes the anger. You read the books that tell you what to expect, even though the same books also tell you that no two cases are alike. Basically, you can’t expect.
Every day I see more of her memories get lost in the shuffle. I watch her steps slow, keeping time to a different beat. I see her look at me thinking I’m her sister and not her daughter. I listen to her questions about “where are the boy’s” (my dad and my husband). I try to explain who people are when they are brought up in conversation. Sometimes there is a spark of recognition, but more often than not, she can’t readily place them.
Still, in all of this, her essence is intact. She is she and we are graced with petals of her personality strewn about. On a really good day it is like having a complete flower from the bouquet. Those are the days we laugh the most. Because they are a gift and we don’t want to squander them. She loves to laugh and make you laugh. She is witty and when you least expect it she will pull off a one-liner that makes a spot on point. In those moments she is sharp as a tack. In those moments you can shut out the inescapable journey.
This evening at dinner (sometimes, when I actually cook, she and my father come over and eat with us) we were waiting on the rolls to finish and I was lamenting the fact that my house was once again upside down (lack of space, too much stuff) because all the laundry room storage was strewn around my kitchen in hopes that the furnace guy soon would be here (delayed until next Tuesday). I said something to the effect that I was so tired of everything being in my way.
In the midst of the conversation Mom piped up and said “You are the only person I ever knew who can see everything in her house at one time.” And we laughed. Because it is true, lack of storage and space pretty much means everything is on display. It was funny in the context of what was going on in my life and in the tone of voice which she used. It was funny because it was a spot on connection that she was making.
It was, for a brief moment, like having all of her with us and not just the petals. So, I laughed at the comment, but I also laughed with joy, because I knew her.
Laughing in Grace,