28 August 2010

The Thing I Miss Most

On the cover of one of my favorite greeting cards is a cartoon with a woman, obviously the stereotypical frazzled housewife-mother at the end of a very long day/week, collapsed on the couch in a room that is cluttered with everything everyone has drug out and not put away. The caption reads, "The thing I miss most around here"; and inside it says, "is my mind." I think this is my favorite card because I've so often felt that way.

How many times have I opened the mail, answered a distraction (phone, door, child, text) , and turned back to the mail only to find that I can't find the overdue bill I had in my hand? And where's my coffee? Why did I come into this room? Where are my car keys?

When the mind truly is missing it doesn't look like that at all. And it isn't funny. Visit a nursing home--a long-term care facility--where many minds have gone missing. Okay, so in order to endure the visit, I do find some humor amidst the disoriented minds that attempt conversations.

My own mother's mind seems to be fractured. One day more of it is missing than another. Like swiss cheese brain that rotates around, lettting a bit of the memory pass through one minute, but the lucid moment vanishes the next as the cheese moves. Gives "Who moved my cheese?" a whole new meaning for me.

Right now Muzzy (my mother) believes that a man named Will Claire d'Lune wants to marry her. He has been trying to visit her and give her a ring for six months. One or another things keeps him from finding her. His mother's name is Ruth d'Lune. Will is a choir master. A choir of women accompanies him wherever he goes. That's how she knows he wants to visit, as a matter of fact. The choir of women sings about it, filling her in on where he is and when he will be arriving. Except that he never arrives.

Will has a ring for my mother. An engagement ring. Big diamond. I can tell by the lilt in her voice when she describes the ring that she can't wait for Will to bring it to her. She's been talking about this for nearly the whole six months. But Will has not been able to get in to see her.

Yesterday, Muzzy told me that two women in the nursing home believe the ring is theirs. One of them is going to file a law suit.

Sometimes the choir sings songs. I remember a few months ago her excitement in telling me they sang "Old Man River" in four part harmony. A few men joined them for that song. Must have been brilliant. She sounded impressed.

A piece of my mind gets lost each time I visit. Though I'm trying to hang on to my senses, the incredibly imaginative delusions challenge me to remain objective. This is my mother. This is my mother in old age. This is my future.

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