I just returned from a lovely week in Rhinebeck, which is located in upstate New York. My husband and I toured several of the mansions that border the Hudson River. In the late 1800's and early 1900's this was where the wealthy Americans from this area built their weekend estates. The Roosevelt & Vanderbilt estates just to name a few.
I now reminisced about how my parents had taken my brother and I to visit the manisons. It's funny because the one thing that really stayed in my memory was collecting pine cones and bringing them back home. My mom still has them displayed on her coffee table in Florida. It's touching to me ,as I think back now, because she had to pack them up when she and my dad moved from Long Island, N.Y. to Florida 24 years ago.
So guess what souvenir I returned with several days ago ? Yes, pine cones from the FDR estate. I so proudly enjoyed picking them off the grounds as I did quite a few years ago. I shared all this with my mom who had no memory of taking me to the mansions or even knowing who Franklin Delano Roosevelt was. He was the President of the United States. How could she not remember that ? Her mind is like a blank canvas, with just about everything erased.
Although my mom could not remember anything that I tried to share with her she was once again so cute in what she did have to say.
I do not remember what I said to Ruthie on the telephone, yet she found it to be quite funny and after she stopped laughing mom said to me "you're funnier than Milton Berle". Now I am not really familiar with him except that I know he was a comedian. My mom has said this same expression to me several times, yet this time I decided to say, "mom Milton Berle must have been quite funny" and my mom answered with "who's Milton Berle"? So I now realize that it is an expression that remains in her brain and yet she has absolutely no idea who Milton Berle was.
At least she still knows where to use the expression and so I remain grateful for what we still have and all that we still can share.
Mom also was a little confused today with when I told her that her caregiver Trudy(Elaine's daughter) would not be coming til the afternoon ,because today was Sunday and Trudy likes to attend church. Ruthie said another one of her jingles which is "if she comes she comes and if she doesn't then she doesn't". Mom then added in that she may not be home anyway. "Mom where are you going"? I replied and mom said that she might be going out with her husband.
My dad passed away sixteen years ago. I did not want to upset her and I chose not to mention it. I just said "mom I think you mean your son Gil" and she answered " oh you're right". I then told her that my brother was not coming today and he would be visiting her in several days.
So this is "our" journey as my mom fades away, yet as of now, for the last several years she almost seems to be in the same place. I cannot remove the Alzheimer's from her, yet I can cherish every converstaion we still can have and love every second that we still can share. For this I am so thankful and embrace all our love together.