I may not remember the date although I could take a close enough guess but I do recall how my heart felt when my children knew my name. “Mom” had such a wonderful sound to it when my daughter first said the word. Two years later my heart filled again when my son also made the connection. I knew they understood that I was someone important to them and in order to get my attention, all they had to say was “Mom”. (In our home it was much easier to say a word than throw a tantrum or cry – just felt better).
I probably won’t remember this date on the calendar in a few weeks either. I will be able to visit inside my heart as I held my tears at bay when my mom said my name. Today.
The nurse saw me after I signed in at the reception desk. She said my mom was having a ‘good day’ today. I approached the craft table and the aide said, “Anne, your daughter is here!” (my mom with dementia is still quite competent with an ‘appropriate’ response, even if she has no idea what you’re talking about). We started walking to the garden. I turned to her and asked ‘do you know my name?’. She looked at my face, and with more clarity than I have recently seen, said “Wendy”.
I get emotional when she doesn’t have any idea who I am or what her story is. The lump in my throat successfully squeezes tears from my eyes. I also get emotional when she does have a sliver of clarity. Those precious moments when I can help her remember parts of her story are rare. I can see the effort in her brain to recall and describe events in her past. Some details are missing, but they aren’t important. I know her story and can fill in the blanks.
So, the sandwich. I seem to fit into the statistic called “The Sandwich Generation”, where the middle generation has a parent requiring care and children who are not quite independent yet. In the middle. Sometimes I feel like the baloney.