Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Remembering and not forgetting

Monday and Tuesday were more of the same for Mom. She lists off the things she remembers doing. Even though most of it shouldn't be hard for her to remember as it is stuff she does everyday, it is amazing that she just started rattling it all off. Up until this conversation, I would ask what she did since we last talked and she would just sigh or say, "Probably nothing."

She did the usual. Lots of sitting out front watching the traffic pass by. The four-times-daily dog walks. A visit or two to the community room to work on the latest jigsaw puzzle.  Oh yes, she got a perm on Monday, so she's happy with her hair, for now.

Since school started last week, the athletic fields behind her complex are once again full of activity. From her living room window, she can watch children play football late in the afternoon until dark. She is more interested in watching parents driving around, trying to find places to park. They can't park in her building's parking spaces. There is barely enough parking for the staff and people who live there, she says, adding that one time a guy came home and all of the spaces were filled. He couldn't park his car. So now, their parking lot is off limits and parking near the fields is limited.

When we first stated talking around 6:30 p.m., Mom had just returned from taking Marley for a walk. She laughed and sad her dog was already taking a nap in the middle of mom's bed. "That's OK, I was going to bring her back up and sneak down to watch the games for a while." As we were talking, Mom would say something about the games outside her window, the families she could see and how it looked like it was getting colder as the evening wore on. She finally decided it was too cold out and she would pass up going down to watch this evening.

Tonight's walk down Memory Lane was a lot of the same recollections we've already discussed and written about in earlier posts. I brought up a few things and she noted with a word or two, but didn't have much more to say. I brought up and she did talk more about a family that lived on Mill Street, last name Fox. They had a big beautiful house with a huge backyard that they turned into a football field. Probably not full scale, but large enough for all of the boys in the community to play on teams they formed. Parents and siblings would line the fields cheering. Everyone walked there. What Mom loved the most was seeing families turn out. Watching parents take interest in what their kids were doing. "It's the same thing here," Mom says referring to the gathering on the fields below her window. "Now, more than ever, parents need to spend time and their attention on those kids."

She doesn't like her window unit air conditioner. Blocks her view and always makes for place too cold when it's running. I am not sure if she ever turns it off or on. She says my sister Liz left instructions for her to leave the settings alone. "I pull the Venetian blinds down to cover it up."

She is looking forward to seeing Liz, later this week, when she comes for a visit. She says she needs some new clothes and hopes Liz will help her go through what she has to decide what she needs. She has a stack of wrinkled clothes that need ironing, but she doesn't have an iron.

But having Liz around for a bit will do her a lot of good. She needs someone to talk to and she is so happy that we have rekindled our mother-daughter friendship.

"I remember you now. I remember you are Nancy, my daughter," Mom says. "I am so grateful that you are calling me and we can talk together. Now, I have to ask. Do you go to church?" I pause and answer honestly -- no. "Well, do you believe in God?" Uhhhh,in a way. "Well I am going to have to send you some church literature." I quickly reply that I am a good girl, though. Mom laughs and says, "Well, as long as you are a good girl."

I remarked that she is remembering a lot more than when we first started talking a month ago. That not only is she remembering who I am, but she's bringing up a lot of memories, things from the past, on her own. She's asking about and remembering my siblings she isn't in contact with. She wants to know what they are doing. How they are. Her mind wasn't so clear when we first started chatting.

"Yes I am," she exclaimed. "I am thinking and remembering a lot of things, I'd forgotten. Do you know why? It is because of you. It is because you called me. You came back into my life and I remember how much I loved going to your house in Massachusetts. You got me to thinking about a lot of things. I look forward to your calls," Her voice wavers, " I feel like I don't have anyone ... You don't know what you mean to me." I tell her it means a lot to me, too.

Mom went on to explain the things Dennis  and Liz do for her. How much she appreciates them and the calls Jim makes. I've been calling every two or three days. She now writes down the next time I tell her I will call. I'm calling so often, she's getting better at remembering what day it is. And the calls are becoming part of her routine.

What fun we are having, Mom. "Goodnight. I love you Mom and we'll talk again, when I can catch you on Thursday."

"I will be waiting for your call. I love you, dear."

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