Like Deckchairs on the Titanic … a Time for Comfort

stepping-stonesI’ve never visited anyone in a place like this before, let alone a loved one. It wasn’t until dad grabbed my hand that I realized my fists were clenched. His touch also prompted me to take a deep breath — turns out I wasn’t breathing, either. Odd.

Inside, a small scattering of residents were camped out in the common room, some sleeping, some watching T.V. Mom was sleeping on a sofa, and when I touched her shoulder, she opened her eyes, focused … and smiled. Quickly she sat up and hugged me, and I waited for her to say something.

For two hours, I waited. We communicated with an improvised game of charades. I stink at charades. It was painful, seeing her life reduced to a single room with a colorless bedcovering and bare walls. And in that moment, I knew what my task this week was going to be: a bit of beauty.

Now, I don’t kid myself that this is going to materially change the outcome of her situation. My other sisters have labored tirelessly to support my parents, helping them to make the medical and other decisions necessary to keep them afloat. This is the first time this year I’ve been able to make it down, for a variety of reasons. And though I’ll admit it may be a bit like rearranging deckchairs on the Titanic, at least it’s in my power to make sure those chairs go down spit-shined.

Her mother’s quilt. A lunch of homemade soup and bread. A good book (I chose one of mine, and another favorite, A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson.) And after lunch, we go back to the common room and sit at the piano, and she turns the pages in the old hymnal while I play song after song.

“She’s having a good day,” Dad said. “That’s two in a row.”

Please, God. Make it a week.

This is not your typical “Fun Friday” post, but somehow it seems appropriate to be publishing this in the typical timeslot. Because when it comes to family, “fun” isn’t always measured in roller coaster rides … and when it is, those coasters aren’t always the kind you find at Hershey Park.

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4 thoughts on “Like Deckchairs on the Titanic … a Time for Comfort

  1. My prayers are with you, your parents, and your siblings. Dementia is a horrible, horrible disease. My mother-in-law has it as well, and it’s just heartbreaking for everyone concerned. Sending a virtual hug, a few tears, and a Memorare UP!

  2. If you can find time journal the occurrences of each day with your mom. Those written memories will be a priceless treasure at a later time. I was able to spend time with my own mom and even though there were times I really didn’t want to take the time to jot down what happened at my visits or didn’t think the negative things were of importance to write down now that mom isn’t with me every little thing is a blessing. Every Tuesday we called it our foo foo day and I would clip her nails and then polish them. I would rub her legs and feet with lotion. I took the time to look into her wisdom filled blue eyes and see her love for
    me. We sang hymns and she tried to tell me stories from long ago. Although her thoughts were scattered and our conversations were only understood thru love I will always have
    those memories with me. Thank you for letting me share.

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