Here I go again, breaking my rule about not talking about my family in the present, but this shows some of what we go through as our parents get older… The picture is of an Aberdeen and Rockfish train.
It is hard to watch my mother live only in the present. She was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in the summer of 2005, and I saw more of a decline this visit than in the past. She doesn’t remember what has just happened or what was said just a few minutes ago. At least she still remembers who we all are. For a woman who once was very opinionated, she now has no opinions and generally remains quiet unless you ask her a question. We watched Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid on AMC while there. I kept mentioning where all the scenes were shot—most near my old stomping grounds in Utah—and she acted surprised that I’d been there even though she’d visited me there many times. At one point in the movie, when Butch and Sundance were riding away with a posse on their tail, she asked, “Why are they chasing them?” She’d forgotten that in the previous scene, they’d robbed a train. Yet, she is still able to function on a basic level and my father doesn’t have to do everything for her. On the positive side, we were served desert twice one evening. As we had just finished dinner, she picked up the desert bowls and put them over on the counter by the dishwasher, then saw a part of a cake left over from the day before and brought it over and served desert again (this time in plates). That certainly never happened when I was growing up!
On the positive side, my mother’s caring and nurturing nature remains. She and my dad picked me up at the Raleigh Durham airport last Thursday evening. Then we had dinner with my nephew and niece who are students in Raleigh, before driving down to the coast. The next day my brother was over and he asked how the flight was and, in a teasing manner, if they fed me. I jokingly responded that they gave us 6 peanuts (I think the actual total was 12). Hearing this, my mother said, “You should have told us, we’d stopped and gotten something to eat.” She had forgotten about the meal we had with her grandchildren.
While down South, I caught up with an old co-worker from my scouting days that I’d not seen in twenty years. I also took my grandmother out to the store and we ended up visiting some second-hand places—it’s a good thing I was flying and only had one suitcase.
A Special Sighting: At the ACC store in the Raleigh Durham airport, they had bargain basement prices on Duke Lacrosse sweatshirts. I had to chuckle. They were only 12 bucks, but I don’t need one that bad. Although I don’t know all the details, they certainly had some bad press lately and wearing such a sweatshirt seems to be at least politically incorrect.