My Mema didn’t know me when I visited today. This is the first time that’s ever happened and although I psych myself up for this possibility each time I visit, I’m still sad.
Mema was born in 1913, the youngest of nine children. Most of her nieces and nephews were born before her and now she’s the last of her family, excepting greats. Mema witnessed the dawn of automobiles, two World Wars, the Roaring Twenties, the Great Depression, the Dust Bowl, desegregation, the advent of color TV, the assassination of Kennedy, the Vietnam War, the rise AND fall of communism, the sexual revolution and the arrival of the computer age. She was married 60 years to my Papa and raised two boys. She outlived a daughter, two grandchildren, a husband and one son. She met Roy Rogers before he was Roy Rogers. Mema worked outside the home for many years and after retirement continued to garden, can, travel, take care of her neighbors and exercise each day until she was in her early 90s. She never much liked to talk about the past, so now that she sometimes wanders in time, I pay close attention, trying to piece together her amazing journey through history. Of course to her it wasn’t history. It was each day of her life lived the best way she knew how to live it.
Mema had a humdinger of a fall last week and after much wailing and gnashing of teeth (the nurses, not me- I’m stubborn) we finally reached a place of minimum pain with minimum drugs. Of course even the minimum of drugs have kept her pretty much asleep for the past week. The plan is to cut back on the painkillers beginning tomorrow. Maybe that will wake her up and she’ll know me again. I hope so, but I’m not expecting it. It seems that once something is gone, it never really comes back in a permanent way.
I do know that even if Mema is not exactly sure who I am, she still knows that I love her and I know that she loves me. It’s enough.