A funny little thing

Tonight at my support group meeting, I began talking to a woman sitting next to me about her mother, who also lives at the Alz center. It was a marathon night, with lots of newcomers with difficult stories to tell and in need of advice. So the four of us whose moms are at the center spoke just briefly, since we have many of our hardest decisions behind us – taking the car keys away, gently fibbing to get around some of the harsh truths of the disease, moving parents or spouses to a higher level of care. Those kinds of things. I did a lot of mindless nodding tonight, listening to and relating to what people are going through. And I am so glad I am not going through it, too.

So this woman and I were talking about our moms after the meeting. “I know Bonnie,” she said. I unfortunately don’t think I know her mother, or at least not very well. But I will look for her now, and always greet her by name. I like for the residents to think they have lots of familiar and friendly people in their lives. Apparently Mom always greets this woman as if she recognizes her. For all I know, she does. She visits her mother frequently, so she is at the center almost every day.

She went on to tell me about the first time she met my mom. Mom was sitting next to a much older resident on a couch. Mom is only 72, and she is indeed much younger than many of the center residents. And she’s very mobile. Plus, on this day Mom had her purse with her, and several bracelets on her wrist. “I was sure she was a visitor,” this woman said. “So I asked her if she was here visiting her mother.” Mom didn’t seem to understand at first. “Isn’t this your mother?” she asked, about the older woman sitting next to Mom. And Mom replied, “Not as far as I know.”

That struck me as very funny. She repeated it for emphasis: “Not as far as I know,” slowly shaking her head. I can just imagine Mom saying that. And not being upset by it in the slightest.

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