Tuesday, March 12, 2013

It's All Good

I talked with my nephew the entire forty miles from the train station to my sister’s home, but I don’t remember a word. Not that the conversation wasn’t interesting but ultimately my mind was preoccupied. And my stomach was twisting in knots. In less than an hour, I’d be facing my mom. Would she remember me when she saw me again after all this time? A rather selfish thought on my part, really. She has other children whose names come and go. But mine has been remembered long past expiration as the dementia takes a sledgehammer to her brain.

I think about the times when I’ve been on the phone with my mom, and we’d be having a nice reminiscence about my dad. Then all kinds of stories and references would start to pop up that just don’t fit. Come to find out, she’d actually been talking about her first husband, not my dad.

It’s like a supple-wristed Pinball Wizard launching that cognitive silver ball through the chute, sending out the ball to bounce off each rubberized pin, picking up a different piece of memory with each “bing-bing” as it travels over the 86-year-old synaptic landscape. Bing-bing! We’re in the 1940s. Bing! Back to the 1990s. Bing! Bounce back to the 60s. From hundreds of miles away, I’d do my best to knock that bastard Wizard out of the way, and I’d step up to punch those flippers, trying to jog a memory … going for a bonus game—for extra time with the mom I used to know.

We got out of the car and strolled to the house, my palms were sweating, The Who playing on the mental soundtrack. Probably should have been the fiery “Ride of the Valkyries” or the sappy “Bridge over Troubled Water.”  But I guess “that deaf, dumb, and blind kid” will do. I fell behind to let my charmers go ahead. I was scared as shit. The door opened, my sister and mom were standing there.

Mom hugged my daughter first, and then my wife. Did she call them by name? Like at the beginning of a play, the room hushed. An oval spotlight panned until it just covered the two of us. 

“Do you remember me, Mom?” 

“Of course I do, David,” she replied, her arms reaching for me. “How could I forget you?”

Always has a replay,” the singer shouted in my ear. I hugged her tight. My universe felt righted … for now. I know tomorrow everything could—and will—change. But for the moment, it’s all good.


Chudney Thomas said...

Hugs. :)

Leah J. Utas said...

Thanks for sharing the gut level stuff, David.

Heath Lowrance said...

Terrific piece, David.

Randy Johnson said...

Enjoy the moment and pray for more good days. it must be tough.

Anonymous said...

I hear every word, David.
I'm in much the same place.

John Hocking

Chad Eagleton said...

It's a hard spot to be in. But you're making it. All you can is be present. That's all any of us can do.

David Cranmer said...

Thank you, all. Appreciated.

John Hocking, I hope you have the support that I have with my family. Braces me up and keeps me marching. Drop me a line at paladin-1@hotmail.com if you ever need an ear.

Chad, Well said, friend. Thanks.

Kieran Shea said...

Stay brave.

Charles Gramlich said...

We all live within moments and this was a good one! I'm glad for it.

Sarah Laurence said...

That is a huge relief for both you and your mom. I loved the photos from your train ride too. My son will be going on a round the country train ride with a friend for his senior project and writing creative nonfiction.

David Cranmer said...

Kieran, Thank you, amigo.

Charles, And this was a warm moment.

How fortunate your son is, Sarah. To have such an eye-opening learning experience so young.

Mates said...

I too was holding my breath. I wanted you to have a special time with Mom, but I knew from the hundreds of emails from our sister tht it was a crap shoot.
I am so relieved. Love you D
the Golden Boy still reigns supreme :)

pattinase (abbott) said...

So happy to hear this!

Unknown said...

Powerful and sobering.

Be well, David.

David Cranmer said...

We had a really fine visit, Mates. I hope to do it again soon. Love you, Big Sister. --Golden B.

Patti/Dyer, Many thanks.