“What if I see you, and I don’t know that you’re my daughter, and I don’t know that you love me?”
“Then, I’ll tell you that I do, and you’ll believe me.”
― Lisa Genova, Still Alice
You know the task that hangs over your head? The one you just can’t bring yourself to start because you know once you do, you are in for it? You have opened the Pandora’s box and there is no turning back, You’re committed.
That task and I met up last Saturday and it’s still a work in progress. Cleaning out my office in order to make a more user-friendly space for Techno and Twinkle Toes. A reading nook or a homework room is the goal. The idea sounds delicious. But standing in my way is eleven years of business – files, folders, conference notes, reading material and journals. Childhood memorabilia, photos, cards, magazines, knick knacks and books grace the shelves. It’s been a walk back in time; many different memories to relive and enjoy. And always present is the decision to purge or save. To toss or keep. To dream further or let that idea go for good. It is exhausting.
I stumbled upon an envelope torn open. It was addressed to my Mom. I pulled out the contents and remembered. Memory is such an essential thing. Almost like breathing. Aren’t we blessed to have it?
The envelope contained a letter from my Aunt to my Mom. It shared some things that had become routine for my Grandma as she traveled from daughter to daughter to be cared for before Alzheimer’s disease took too much of a toll and her care was left to the professionals.
I thought to myself how odd was it that I found it today? November is National Alzheimer’s Awareness month.
Excerpts from Highlights for the Month of April
“Mom likes a hug each morning when she wakes up and when you come home from anywhere
pink nails, not red
big band songs
to hold her hand wherever you go out
to look outside
to peel her own apple each day after you have cut it into four
fast organ music
to iron – she does a great job with tea towels, small tee shirts and handkerchiefs
dancing around the room with you
perfume and lipstick each day
to “reach for the sky” when undressing her
telephone calls with some “news”
hot chocolate on a chilly night
her scarf if there is the slightest wind outside
her warm bathrobe in the morning while she has her coffee
to sit outside when the weather allows
for you to fluff her pillow every night
to be asked which color she wants to wear each day
to have her purse in sight at all times
to put on her own nylons and shoes
to be told what day of the week it is each morning
to meet your co-workers or friends
to be led back to bed when she gets up during the night, tucked in and told you will come get her when it’s time to get up.”
How many of these things are so different from what I would do with Little Bee as she is just starting out her life? And what my Grandma experienced as hers was ending? It was unexpected but Grandma found me in my office today. And she made me stop and remember. I miss her. How blessed I am.