I clean the cat box and elbow the 51 inch TV draped in a shroud on the screened in porch. It’s another thing that didn’t fit in the storage unit. There are now two china cabinets crowded into the dining area. One is her Mom’s. Every now and then she stands and peers into it, as if she is trying to remember what she has in there and where they came from.
There are things crammed in corners and stored where they normally would not be, but this is part of the adjustment, part of the rearranging of a household, of a life.
Clothes hang from the top bar of the swing in the patio room that she has slept in ever since her Mom moved into her bedroom. She hung them there originally because her Mom would come in and sit there and stare at her while she was sleeping.
Needless to say, it was a bit disconcerting.
Because of this, she rigged up a curtain that fell down in front of the sliding door for privacy during the night, but her Mom would make such a racket trying to get through it in the morning she stopped putting it down altogether.
It’s just another in a long line of sacrifices…..living ones, she has made since her Mom has come to live here, bringing her Alzheimer’s along.
The latest challenge involves trying to keep her Mom inside. With temperatures reaching 110 in the shade, we can’t let her go out. Her brain no longer tells her it’s too hot. If she gets too chilly in the house, she opens the front door.
There are signs on the door, a sign on the microwave, a board on the outdoor swing, and a sign on the refrigerator door, that says “Keep closed.” The motor burned up on the last one when her Mom left the door open and it ran all night.
She is also not remembering when or what she eats. She will tell you she’s hungry 15 minutes after dinner. And just lately, she has forgotten where the laundry is.
I wonder how long this will last, this displacement of our old lives, and this losing of hers?
Later that night, as I watch the wildfires raging through Colorado, all my irritation burns up along with the flames I see licking up and around houses and trees and engulfing everything in its path. Everything they owned, gone.
I was complaining about having too much stuff crammed in my house, when others were watching everything they owned go up in smoke.
I watch her then, her mom, walk in and stare confused at the images of people losing everything on the TV and I wondered if maybe, way down deep in the brain plagued with Alzheimer’s, she possibly didn’t realize she was losing everything too.
And my heart explodes with compassion for her and gratitude for all I have. Yes, even in this cramped space built for two and now busting at the seams with three.