My mom checks the mail everyday. Sometimes she’s checks it twice or more if she’s forgotten she’s already done so. Getting mail is a big thing these days. I suppose when there isn’t any she thinks she needs to try again. Same result. Disappointment. Even when I’m there, mom will have her internal alarm clock ding at the time she needs to check the mail. She suddenly announces that it’s time and off she goes. When there’s something to bring back it’s like she’s accomplished a major feat. She’s useful and has been productive. How strange it must be to her (in her lucid mind) that her once sharp intelligence is now a faint memory and has been replaced with confusion and frustration. And collecting mail is a major accomplishment.
Rudy bought me postcards so I could mail them out regularly. Today I mailed my first one. I talk to my folks everyday except when my sister is there. Don’t want to overload the fragile sensory apple cart. So I sat at the breakfast table and thought about what to say. We catch up on the mundane every time we speak… what was had for meals is a good topic. It’s a reminder of how my moms brain is dysfunctioning (is that a word? It should be). I ask mom they had for lunch. Dad answers usually while mom is adjusting her thinking cap. When I ask if she liked it, the response can be utterly amusing.
Lately she’s been accusing dad of not shopping and therefore they aren’t eating. Dad assures me this is false but she’s so sincere I can see how professionals dealing with clients like my mom are thrown off track. My sister tells me that mom has been talking about baking cakes and making soup. These are crazy flashbacks from many years ago. It startled me to realize how long she’s been in cognitive decline and how we have adjusted and adapted. Like it’s normal. Apparently she also tried to clean the oven (even though it’s self cleaning). It seems as though her memories are firmly planted in the kitchen and around food.
So I jotted a short blurb about the weather on the postcard and popped in the mailbox. I thought to myself what her reaction will be when she collects from her box in the future. I sent her a birthday card. It was a cartoon depicting an animated kid yelling for their mom (there’s a whole inside family joke about my brother who used to yell for mom …. another time perhaps…) my dad told me he had to read it to mom several times. He said she liked it. I’m wondering if she forgot he read it to her before. Either way, it was a cute and funny card that she grasped the meaning of. A good memory.
I will send out a postcard every week or two. Rudy has me well stocked. Last week I sent flowers for their anniversary. 1959. 62 years. When the delivery came to their door they were surprised. They read the card which said “happy anniversary”. Still surprised. They had no idea it was January 7. No idea it was their anniversary. Next time I will warn them by sending a postcard.
Cherish every moment.