Not Just Forgetful

My mom jokes about how forgetful she is. That’s nothing new. Ever since I was in high school she’s had to write things down in order to remember them, and I’m the same way. I’m a heavy user of “to do” lists, and without electronic calendars that send me reminders I’d miss half of my appointments. The last time I visited her, in fact, we were late for her doctor’s appointment because I forgot to look up driving directions (and didn’t have my GPS). When things like that happen, we laugh about how it’s obvious I’m her daughter and come by this forgetfulness honestly.

But it’s not just forgetfulness anymore. It’s not just an inability to remember whether it was Tuesday or Wednesday when she got a particular phone call. I talked to her for almost an hour last night. This morning her friend asked if I’d called and she said no, she hadn’t heard from me. That whole conversation about the reasons why she needs to move to assisted living sooner rather than later had been wiped from her memory. If she can’t recall the conversation, it makes sense that she can’t remember later how we arrived at the decision. I expect we’ll have to have that conversation several times over the next couple of weeks.

I called her on my lunch hour today to talk to her about attending the holiday party at the assisted living community and how they think it would be a good idea for her to get acquainted with her new roommate before she moves in. I explained that her friend Karen can take her there after her hair appointment and that someone from the facility will bring her home after the party. Mom looked at her calendar and agreed that this would work out in terms of timing. Then she asked me, in a tone of bewilderment, “What do I do now?”

Tears stung in my eyes. She sounded so confused, so lost… and I didn’t know exactly what she was asking or how to help. Was it simply a question about whether other arrangements needed to be made for her to attend the holiday party, or more than that? What do I do now, as my memory slips away from me and I grow increasingly confused?

“It’s all set, Mom,” I answered gently. “You don’t need to do anything.”

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