Some days you laugh and some you cry...
My adventures with Debbie are a chance to find a fragment of her that once existed. Our discussions crowded with confusion move from childhood stories, our own children growing up and our parents, for which I need to remind her again that our father died almost 17 years ago. These conversations can move us from laughter to tears.
The ongoing confusion of where home is sets in as our day comes to a close. Frustrated, she sharply tells me I am going the wrong way or to the wrong place. In an attempt to help her remember, I present small details of her life, how long she has lived there, where her boys grew up, the school district and so on. Periodically bringing her to tears and eventually, me too...
Why am I going through this when there are so many bad people in the world, she asks? I totally agree, and do not understand? Sometimes she doesn't know what "this" is. Repeatedly she asks me if mom and dad witnessed that person who dragged her across the ground or whatever caused this memory loss? I remind her that nobody dragged her, she had a brain tumor removed, but again the slate is blank.
Suddenly she begins to cry again and asks why don't I get to have Christmas with my boys? You did, I retort, we have pictures, even video... yeah she says, but what difference does it make if I don't remember any of it... Then the tears start streaming down my face too. She is right, and frustrated and its not fair to any of us, especially her!
Once home she begins filling the previously chosen bags throughout the house already marked with her name. I will take these when I go home, she claims. Again I repeat, you are home... shrugging me off she continues with her confused chatter. I thought I shaped a memory when she recognized pictures on the wall, only to have her packing again.
She carries on believable conversations, talking about her work week or the kids at school. I often wonder if people know she is confabulating these stories? Or that only pieces of them speak the truth? Those pieces are the parts of her that she remembers from the past, but not the current pieces of her life.
I grieve the loss of the sister I had while striving to embrace the person she is today, supporting her to be the best she can be, while praying that her memory continues to improve.