My Guy and I moved far away from the fervor of city life and embraced small town quietude primarily to care for my mother.
The scope of what that was to look like has changed multiple times once we got here and began to understand what Mom’s needs look like.
Lewy Body Dementia is rough. Any disease that steals a loved one and molds them into someone only loosely familiar, someone who is often scared … frequently worried … and possessing little control … well … its rough.
But there are the small things that make it tolerable, even special.
It was a typical Friday afternoon visit in her cozy room. I poked my head in never knowing if this is a visit where she’d welcome me to sit awhile or look up lost, listen to a few words from me then say her ritual, “I think you’d better go.” The second is hard … I try to push my welcome so that she knows we’re always here and so that she doesn’t have to be alone. But the plea comes with a look in her eyes that almost begs … “I don’t want people to see me like this. I’d rather be alone.”
The Friday she was standing by the sink looking at things on the counter. I would be welcomed to stay.
First was rehearsing some things she’d been working hard to remember to tell me. Personal items to pick up. A table cloth back at her home that she wanted me to look for and pull out for the holidays.
Then she sank into the soft recliner from her old living room and pulled out her color books and pencils.
Three Christmases ago, a family member gave her some colored pencils and books, thinking Mom would enjoy them. She didn’t seem the least bit interested. Then one day, after moving to where she is now, she asked us to bring her books and pencils.
It’s sporadic for sure, but more and more she’s been filling the pages with color. Detailed. Careful. … I don’t remember her ever paying so much attention to artistic detail except for a brief period over 40 years ago when she enjoyed a stint painting ceramics at our neighbor’s shop.
She set out all her pencils, then gave me orders.
“Here. You color the top. I’ll color the bottom.”
Quiet. Working. We only talked to consult color choices.
This small moment mattered … every huge achievement in my life paling to mush.
Mom has always loved color …
And gardens …
And flowers …
And bossing me around.