Watching the slow decay…..

first written in January  2009

Mom and I sit, as usual, in the living room. The television is on in the background. She’s sitting in “her” chair, located in front of her now seldom used computer. It’s an older model, one of dad’s “hand-me-downs”.

I’m sitting next to her in dad’s big, comfy chair while he’s in the back room playing on his computer.

I arrived on New Years Day. Upon my arrival, mom knew who I was. Yet I have already noticed a few of her “slips” that my brother, Carl, and his wife, Alice, had warned me about.

Then she asks where I live. “Germany”, I answer.

“Where are you going from here?” she asks.

I reply as neutral yet as truthful as possible, “Back home to Germany.”

“oh, Dorrie lived in Germany, but she moved. I have no idea where she is now.” There is no point in trying to correct her.

An empty tissue box lies on the table in front of her. In it are a few papers, a framed picture of my niece, Cassie, and her boyfriend, Anthony, plus some pencils, pens, and small scissors. Mom points to the picture.

“I don’t know the names. They left here and forgot to take the picture with them.”

“I think that’s Cassie and her boyfriend (who I haven’t met yet so I’m assuming).”

“They forgot to take it with them.” Mom insists.

“Mom, it was a present for you to keep.”

“Write the names down, I have to return it, they forgot it.” She hands me an empty envelope, I write down “Cassandra” and give it to her. She takes the picture together with the envelope and marches to the back room where dad is sitting.

“I have to tell “that guy” (meaning dad).” Dad repeats what I had told her, but she won’t listen and gets mad because no one listens to her.

“They gave it to you as a present, to hang up somewhere,” I repeat. “Let’s find a place where we can hang it.”

“No! It’s not going here!” she then insists, since she doesn’t accept this place as her home. She then places it face down on her dresser, so it won’t get forgotten when she “goes home”.

She returns to her chair and her tissue box. She begins to sort the papers in the box. I also notice her placing the pencils and scissors into envelopes. I suggest she put them in the cup that sits next to the computer, together with other pens.

“But then they’ll be forgotten when I go home,” she whines. I humor her by telling her that the cup can be taken home with her as well. She thinks about that for a moment and accepts, then continues sorting the stuff in the box.

Later I’m sitting, writing in a notepad. The lighting isn’t great and she asks, “How can you see there, Dorrie?”

She once again recognized me.

 

 

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