Mom has been unusually calm these days. She has been a fighter against her Alzheimer’s, not going easily into the twilight world of forgetfulness and unable to accept her greatly diminishing physical abilities, so her peacefulness is a surprise. I am so happy she now allows me to take care of her, to sit outside watching the moon with her, to tuck her in bed with a kiss, without fussing and worrying about the horrors of old age. “Who said this is the ‘golden age,’” was her mantra.
There’s not much to say when I visit—since I come so often, there’s not much news, and I don’t like repeating myself endlessly anyway—but she loves my presence beside her. It makes her feel safe, despite the fact that those who work there are loving caregivers. The one thing she does remember that we can talk about together is her childhood. Thankfully, since I’ve written her stories into a book, I now know those stories better than she does so I can prompt her memories as well as join in.
Last night, sitting outside in the evening, Mom sang a Japanese children’s lullaby to the moon, over and over—the one I sing to her after I tuck the quilt around her at bedtime. “Mikazuki-sama, konban wa.” Today she talked about the old festivals of Japan. She sang an old folk song (again and again), swaying her hands to movements half-remembered. I stood up and did the beginning of the dance for her, the only part I could remember.
I’m so glad I have her old memories written down. And it is so beautiful to wrap the memories around us, holding us together as one. I think we are both at peace now, ready to face the future.
Note: this post was inspired by an article by Julie Redstone on Yvonne Perry’s blog, More Than Meets the Eye. The article is entitled The Challenge of Death and Dying – Caring for Aging Parents.