My mother wanted to be a writer, but the circumstances of life did not allow that dream to come true. She would have been a great wordsmith.
Now that she lives in the confusing fog of Alzheimer’s, her creative juices no longer peek behind the boundaries of reality. She creates amazing stories that alternately amuse and frighten us.
During this past Easter weekend, I walked with Mom down the hallways of assisted living. Each door we passed led to the final home of a resident. It would have been a morbid trip except for the decorations outside each door – colorful symbols of something special to that resident.
One door displayed a basket full of wooden apples, painted so realistically I could almost taste the juice. However, Mom’s appetite focused more on the story she imagined.
“Those apples remind me of one day when I knocked on that guy’s door.”
Did she really do that? Probably not, but her story depended on the plausibility that she did indeed knock on that door.
“So this guy opened the door and offered me an apple, but I didn’t take one because I knew he was probably pedaling liquor in his room and maybe put some in one of the apples. I didn’t want to take that chance. It’s against the law to have liquor in your room.”
A pretty good story, filled with conflict and imagination. I tried not to laugh as we walked back to her room where Mom had another story waiting.
She told me someone had stolen her scarf. I knew this wasn’t true, because her scarf was hanging out of her coat pocket. I had helped her find it that morning before we left for church.
I could have pointed to the scarf and reminded her it was hanging in full view, but she was already half a sentence into her story.
“So this guy stole my scarf, and I ran after him and chased him outside. Then I took ice picks out of my pockets and started toward him. I stabbed him all over with my picks until he hollered. I almost stabbed his eye out but then he gave me the scarf.”
Some of the macabre stories Mom tells probably evolve from years of reading mysteries and watching “The Twilight Zone.”
The final story of the weekend was one Mom knows well and even within the shadows of confusion, she was able to share in it last Sunday.
It’s the true story of a man who was willing to give his life so that we could live abundantly – the God-man who came to earth, loved us unconditionally, then died on a wooden cross.
That man – that Jesus – did not stay dead. He came back to life where over 500 people saw him alive and became credible witnesses of the greatest miracle ever performed.
Mom knows that story well and shared in the joy of Easter Sunday. Holding her Bible, even though she can no longer find passages, she nodded her head as the pastor spoke and helped us sing, “Low in the Grave He Lay…Up from the Grave He Arose.”
Her faith and her eternal future are based on the veracity of the Easter story. Someday she will experience new life in heaven, forever free of Alzheimer’s and its horrific side effects.
We’re hanging on to that story of hope and look forward to its final resolution – the eternal resurrection for all of us.
©2016 RJ Thesman – Author of the Reverend G books http://amzn.to/1rXlCyh