on remembering one thing
Arianna and I visited my mother yesterday. She continues to decline with Alzheimer’s disease, and I was struck by the definite and circular narrative in her mind.
With a flannel blanket over her head like a shawl, she declared in an animated voice, “I’m Ann Crabtree (maiden name) and Mary Gordon (mother) is going to take me to Moss Point and buy me a house!”
Over and over and over and over.
It’s tempting to blame this repetitive narrative on the disease, but I was struck by a question – If I could only have one thought, what would my fixation be? On Arianna and the girls, on Kenya, on Friends of Kijabe on poetry or bike rides or faith? What would I cling to when all else disappeared?
The only moment that broke the repetitive narrative happened when mom began to sing Jesus Loves Me. All the other ladies joined in, and for thirty seconds there was perfect unity in scratchy, imperfect voices.
Even today, I fixate on things that either I can’t control or that I desperately want to achieve.
At Thanksgiving with our Bible study fellowship, I looked into faces of people who have spoken words of peace during challenging days of the past months:
“It’s okay to struggle.”
“If you think like that, you’re going to drive yourself crazy.”
“That level of perfection, it’s impossible.”
Today, as we try to be all the places for all the people and still rest. . .we are grateful for the wisdom everyone on both sides of the ocean continue to speak into our lives. . .