Last week, on the way to the optometrist, I took Mom to the beach in Niantic for an hour.
She doesn’t remember any of it. Not the trip to the optometrist, not the eye exam or multiple tests, not picking out frames for her new lenses, and definitely not the beach. Yet she still recalls the Renaissance Faire without difficulty.
Anyway, this week we were scheduled to go pick up her glasses, so I decided to do a bit of the same. We did lunch at When Pig’s Fly…
…picked up her new glasses…
…and sat on the beach for an hour. Literally sat, by the way. Her left leg grew fatigued about halfway along and she did a slow-motion drop to the sand. Fortunately, the sand was soft, the sun was warm, and the breeze benign, so I sat down beside her to watch the waves, the gulls, the fishing loon.
She grows quiet on the beach; introspective and thoughtful although not quite adept at voicing her thoughts. Finding words to express herself is becoming increasingly difficult. She talks about the number of shells, picking and pocketing them like a little kid. She wants to roll down the beach to the water and have it bear her away.
I’m not thrilled with being my mother’s caretaker. It’s hard work and Alzheimer’s is a total bitch of a disease. It steals so much…but it offers gifts, too, in it’s way, like those moments on the beach when I wouldn’t change a thing, when I experience a total quality moment with my mom, something we never had when I was growing up and something I’d have missed out on if I hadn’t taken her in. We talk more — about the past and people she’s known, about where the future is taking her; she shares her frustrations more than she once did, and she laughs easily, content and safe in my company. If these are to be my last memories of her, then I’m content as well.