Friday, when I walked in the door, Dad dove for a pair of slacks folded beside him. “Before we start anything else…” he said, and unfolded the slacks to show me that both cuffs were very frayed. “Oh. I guess I’d better get you a new pair.” But no, I was missing the point; he wanted me to hem them. Huh. When I pointed out that it would make the slacks very short, Dad dismissed this concern. “I just sit here or in the living room,” he said, and that’s when I got it: the slacks were PERFECTLY GOOD. Against my own instincts and standards, I agreed to do it, and brought them home. I noticed that the belt loops were fraying, too, but oh well. The slacks are hemmed, and he’s very pleased. When his underwear starts to show through the seat of his pants, I’ll put my foot down.
Mom was seated by the window, not a usual spot for her. The 36-inch, covered wastebasket–intended for the bathroom and to keep the dog out of used Depends–was once again in her bedroom. You’d never know that the wastebasket is practically new; it’s dented, its read paint peeling, and it’s probably because Mom wrestles with it to open it and–good grief–feeds the dog the wet briefs. Oh the horror–but we just can’t conclude anything else about why the dog keeps getting them.
I asked Mom how she was, and she pointed to the wastebasket. “I’ve got that ready to go. There’s a lot to be done yet, but I don’t know when we’re leaving.” Mom was in one of her fantasies that she needed to pack up to go. Where was she going? Home, of course. I felt bad–oh no, she wanted to go home! She was going to be disappointed!
“Which home? 711? Or Wheaton?” Mom didn’t know, just that she had to get ready. So I told her the story again: that the cooking, cleaning, shopping, and laundry had gotten to be too much for her, and we found a place that would do all the chores for them, and that Coco could live at Bickford too. I asked her if she wanted to leave Bickford. “No! I like it here. I just don’t know what he”–she pointed toward Dad’s room–”wants to do.” Good news, I told her, Dad and I had just had a conversation and he was determined that both he and Mom were going to stay at Bickford no matter what! Mom dropped her mouth open, and spread her arms wide, a characteristic gesture for her meant to communicate that she couldn’t believe it, but against all the odds and evidence, everything was OK. For a few more minutes we went over the fact that she was not moving, and rejoiced together. I was very relieved that she was not wanting to go home–that would have broken my heart–and she couldn’t get over the fact that she could STAY right where she was. And this sort of episode is why I visit often. I know I can’t help her every time she’s confused, but the times I can are a joy to us both.