Monday, January 27, 2014
He will yet fill your mouth with laughing,
And your lips with rejoicing. -Job 8:21
I know there are people who can recall every day, every minute of their lives. Frankly, for me, that's just too much information. I recall things of my life in memorable moments. These are sound bites that, for some reason, made such an impression on me they're stuck in my memory bank forever. Some are funny, some are so sad I can't even speak of them.
The best ones are the ones that make me laugh when they come to mind years later. I had one of those moments with my mother last week. Laughing with her is very rare these days. The Alzheimer's steals more of her mind every day. We've hit the point where I wonder sometimes if she realizes who I am. Often, we just sit in silence...after I've answered the same question four or five times. But then there's a moment when the veil blows back and we connect. Just a moment.
We had one of those Thursday and I will put it in my bank of gratitude. We were sitting in the common area of the nursing home. I was showing her pictures of the grandkids and carrying on conversation as best I could. She was smiling and nodding at the pictures. The whole time, a man in a wheelchair was motivating around the area, pushing himself around with his feet like Mama does, looking for somebody to talk to. He is also swirling in his own reality. As he babbled on to himself, I thought "O no...don't let him come over here." Of course he did. We were the only available targets. Everybody else was in the dining room playing Bingo.
He motored himself right on over to us and began to tell us very seriously that we were not to worry, he knew the whole situation and everybody involved and he would take care of it. We sat staring at him, not wanting to encourage him yet not knowing how to make him go away. He carried on for a minute or two, never stopping for a breath, and then turned to roll on his way. As he did, he told us very seriously just to call him and he would take care of everything. My usually reticent, soft-spoken mother called out in a tone of jocular sarcasm, "Yeah, we'll call you!"
And then she looked at me and we burst into the most wonderful belly laughs. For at least thirty seconds, we were together in a common understanding and a joint joke. We haven't laughed like that in a long time. May not ever again.
But I have that moment. As long as we can keep the laughter going, we have a better chance of dealing with whatever this cruel disease throws our way. When I left Mama that day, I looked back and the same man was buzzing her way again...probably to assure her he had all the world's problems under control and she only needed to call him. For both of them, it was probably a new conversation. I hope she gave him the same answer.
As I got in my car, I was still laughing.