A couple weeks ago, Mama looked right at my oldest daughter and said, “I want to buy you a duck.” And Amy and I both laughed. And we wondered where that thought came from.
I often wonder about Mama’s thoughts and words.
Some days now she is so quiet. Sometimes I feed Mama a whole meal, and she opens her mouth faithfully to eat, but doesn’t say a word, even though I try to engage her. Some days she doesn’t even look at me and just gazes off at random things. I often wonder what she’s thinking.
And even when she does speak, and her words are clear enough to understand, I still don’t know what she’s thinking.
A few days ago, I was feeding Mama lunch, and she kept looking right at me.
She asked, “Did you?” And she looked at me intently, waiting for a response.
“Um-mm, maybe.” I said. “I might have.”
“Did I do it?” Mama asked, with a concerned look on her face, her eyebrows knitted close together.
“I don’t think so,” I answered.
A bit later Mama said, “No one knows.”
“Well, that’s true,” I replied. “There is a lot that no one knows.”
A little while later Mama randomly asked me,”Why do they do that?” her blue eyes fixed on me expectantly.
I was thankful Mama was actually talking, but I wished I could understand what she was thinking about. I longed to truly communicate with her.
After lunch and clean up, I cuddled in bed with Mama for a little while. I quoted Bible verses. I sang hymns and other songs. I told her that I loved her.
Finally I said, “I need to go now, Mama. Should I go get Dad to come take a nap with you? Would you like Raymon to come in here?”
And Mama very clearly said, “Oh, shut up!”
Well, at least I understood that! And though it’s still strange to hear Mama say words she never said when her mind was strong, I laughed. I think it was just refreshing to hear a whole thought from her that I could comprehend.
But as Alzheimer’s progresses, and language dwindles, every word becomes more precious. It’s a clue to what is going on in Mama’s thoughts. Or at least I want it to be a clue. And I search for meaning. And whenever she mentions my name or speaks of love, my heart is thrilled.
A week or so ago I told Mama I loved her. And she answered, “I know that.” And my heart was warmed and I smiled. Because even though she doesn’t know who I am, or what my name is, or if she loves me — if she knows that I love her, I can be content.
Because someday we will be together with God, and Mama’s mind will be restored. Then she will know my name again. And I will know her Mama’s love again. How sweet and perfect that will be!
And then I’ll just have to ask her– why did you want to buy Amy a duck? And I can see us laughing together about that one!