My sense is that we are weeks away from the end.  According to the staff at the nursing home, Mom refuses all food and almost all drink.  She is further way mentally than she’s ever been.  She laughs unexpectedly, at things I cannot see or hear.  Yesterday, she kept saying, “Come here, baby, come here, baby.”  I finally asked who she was talking to.  “Isn’t there a dog here?” she said.  “Yes,” I said.  “There’s a dog.”  “Well, then.”

She drank two-thirds of a glass of cold water while I was there, but complained that “everything tastes salty.”  (I tried the water; it wasn’t.)  She is beginning to have trouble swallow, a sure sign that the Alzheimer’s is gaining ground.

As I was leaving, I bent down to kiss her.  “I love you, Mom,” I said.

“I love you, too,  honey.”

“Love you billions and billions and billions.”

“Oh, don’t do that,” she says.  “You’ll hurt yourself.”

Hard not to both laugh and cry over that one.

About Melissa Crandall

Longer ago than I care to admit--although I will--I cut my writing teeth on fanzines and media tie-in novels. Since then, I've moved on to narrative nonfiction, speculative fiction, and essays. I write to explore and understand the world around me, the things I see and experience nearby or from a distance. If I shake myself up, cool. If I shake you up, even better. Not gratuitously--what's the point in that?--but to set what I know, or think I know, on end and realize, "Well, doesn't it look different from this side!" My work is neither sexually explicit nor graphically violent. Let's face it - your imaginations will come up with things far worse than anything I could write, no matter how descriptive. Besides, it's just not my thing. I live in Connecticut with my supportive husband Ed, a cat named Ruby who might just think she's a dog, and an epileptic Australian shepherd named Holly who isn't quite certain anymore who she is, except she knows she loves her mommy.
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6 Responses to Yesterday

  1. dementedgirl says:

    How strange that the verbalization remains, even at this late stage of forgetting how to swallow – I’m glad she was able to put that to use to tell you that she loved you…

  2. Barbara Davis-Dickman says:

    “Oh don’t do that. You’ll hurt yourself.” Beautiful words that should find their way into a book someday. I’m overwhelmed by just that one statement. While it may have meant something else, it is actually wise beyond most of our years. Stay strong, Melissa….you’re in my thoughts.

    • Thanks, Barbara. In thinking about it, I had to chuckle. “Don’t do that, you’ll hurt yourself” was the litany of my childhood years … and so frustrating for me. My mother was frantic I’d get hurt and so never let me try anything she deemed even remotely “dangerous.” I’ve spent the rest of my life making up for it.

      • Barbara Davis-Dickman says:

        It’s kind of funny, admittedly in an odd way, that people at this stage still have little bits of themselves that hang on…and those things do make us smile. I remember that, my sister brought our aunt to see my mom about a week before she passed away. Mom with late stage Alzheimer’s and Aunt Gen with some form of dementia, and my sister said they still knew they were supposed to be bickering about something..and they didn’t disappoint. It actually made all of us giggle a little. It’s strange how something like that can actually be a comfort.

      • It’s a little touch of normalcy amid all the madness.

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