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Spokane, WA
This profile photo is my mom and me at the beach--she is 26 and I am about 18 months. LOVE the joy!! I am a mom of three and a teacher; being a teacher means I have to go back and cut the f-bombs. There were a few. Because Alzheimer's sucks badly. This blog, for nine years now--skipping a few while I was too cheap to buy my domain name-- helps me un-peel and process the endless layers of sad woven with weird and--impossibly--comedy.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Fruitcake

By the way, I went to see Lynn on Christmas Eve. Not since. I suck. It's somehow easier not to visit when I'm pretty clear she doesn't know who I am. It's actually both easier, I should add, and way freaking harder.
I brought a fruitcake, but not even one I bought from a grocery store bakery. One I bought from BIG LOTS, (along with cheap but attractive adhesive gift tags). She used to joke that she was one of the very few people who liked fruitcake. I also brought her a framed family photo but she didn't recognize any of us..that's not fair, she couldn't name any of us, but I wasn't exactly quizzing her. That's mean. Like testing my daughters on words they can't read yet. "You know that long A sound..WHAT?!"
I knew I had an out, because it was Christmas Eve and I had to get home and do the parent thing for my three kids.
She had fallen the day before, cutting and bruising her right eye, and her arm and shoulder. While conflicting reports had her walking and/or tripping and hitting a corner and/or a flat edge, there was a very lucid, sort of attractive woman (with awful, gnarled legs she has to massage and move around all the time. I think about how shitty other muscular and neuromuscular conditions would be sometimes) who told me, very clearly, that my mom was running when she fell. She actually saw her.
In any case, the nurse had told me the day before that a portable x-ray tech would drive up from Colfax by midnight to find out if she had broken it, but since it was "the holiday" (It's like a 10 day thing here. Christmas Eve afternoon through January 2. Apparently even small-town hospitals observe it) no one came. So it hurt her badly, and she was in a wheelchair, because it hurt too much to walk around, and they didn't want her to become re-injured. So our visiting routine was different. Normally, she walks away and then I go find her.
Sitting in the wheelchair immobile made her seem even more unbelievably old..although remarkably her hair always looks great.
She would forget she was in pain, and then wince, and then forget. She was nicely engaged so she wasn't focusing on it too much, because I was sitting with her at the dinner table and we were laughing at a belligerent neighbor. OH MY GOD the old people eating around me. The guy on the left yelling and slamming his plate..the sweet old guy on the right had a speech impediment but ready smile.
Christmas is a holiday for the young and healthy. Didn't really matter. Like "Hope" on Shawshank, "there's no use for it on the inside."
But I shared the awful fruitcake with the lady next to us who always compliments my clothes. I mean, she's wearing an oversized military coat, mismatched clothing and a vibrant knit hat, so I mean, really, she's easy to impress, but still.

My mom's old roommate Patty was so glad to see me she squealed with delight. and put her arms out to be hugged. She's about ten years younger and has a teeny bit of dementia, but her other physical ailments are so plentiful that it's low on the list of concerns.

I hugged my mom and said "I love you," and she said "Oh, that's nice of you to say." I took it to mean she may have thought it out of place, exchanging such informal pleasantries with a young fruitcake-bearing, somewhat familiar guest and not, say, a daughter. But I don't think she gets the concept of her being a mom and grandma anymore..so..maybe I'm a friend. Not a very good friend, though, since I haven't been back since.

Thoughtful young me

Thoughtful young me

Seventies chicks

Seventies chicks
Me and my mom Lynn, 1973

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