Adventures in Alzheimer’s – I know everyone edition

by Julie Frayn on May 18, 2015 in  Adventures in Alzheimer's,Mama Bird

My mom has always had a wide range of acquaintances. Maybe it was due to her years supporting politicians’ campaigns and working in the office of the Member of Parliament for Calgary Centre. Or perhaps it’s just her outgoing nature and ability to talk to anyone about anything at any time… It’s an enviable trait. One I didn’t inherit.

Alzheimer’s is extending the diameter of her acquaintance circle wider and wider every day.

Baby girl and I took her out for an afternoon of dog shopping (yeah, we didn’t get a dog – different story). She wanted a burger, so we found a Wendy’s drive-thru. She told us how she knew her dad. But now he’s dead. (Each time she says ‘dead,’ it is with emphasis, a deep voice, and that single syllable is drawn ouuuttt).

I asked whose dad she was talking about.

“Wendy.”

“Uh, you mean Dave Thomas? You knew Dave Thomas?”

She looked at me like I was an idiot. Yes, she knew him and he visited her and Dad whenever he was in town. And she remembers coming into the restaurant (aka, Wendy’s) once and there was this redheaded girl. It was Wendy herself.

Okey dokey.

Apparently Mom and Dad were also good friends with Tim Horton (he, after whom the famous Canadian doughnut shop is named). They knew him when he was playing hockey, and when he opened the first doughnut place. He made the best hot dogs. And now he has so many stores. But he doesn’t own them because he’s dead.

Then there’s George. That’d be George Doherty, the namesake of a popular Canadian skin cream for those of us blessed cursed with skin so dry, folks try to set land speed records on us during speed week. According to Mom, she basically was responsible for their product, for it was her that told George, “Someone ought to make a skin cream for this crazy Canadian climate.”

Emphasis on crazy.

Everywhere we go, she stops in her tracks, points and stares at people. “Do I know him?” “Isn’t she that evil woman who took away my driver’s license?” “I went to school with that woman.” “Is that….?”

No, Mom. No it’s not.

The topper to this edition is when she told baby girl of the time she met Buddha. He’d come to visit her in Calgary. Of course that was before he was murdered and now he’s dead.

Sure thing, Mom.

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Ey Wade May 18, 2015 at 7:18 am

God. I’m tickled. She definitely keeps the mind going. Tragic yet… it’s like wanting to hug, laugh, and scream at the same time.

Reply

Julie Frayn May 18, 2015 at 7:20 am

Yes, very much like that. Exactly like that…

Susanne Kraus-Dahlgren May 18, 2015 at 8:00 am

The very quality of being human. Glimmers of laughter laced in with the darkest moments. A serving of frustration glazed over with peace. Smiles through the moments of tears. They carry us through from one shadow to the next, and when the pain diminishes, the smiles still remain.

Reply

Julie Frayn May 18, 2015 at 8:14 am

That is lovely, Susanne. And very true. Some days I don’t even want to face her because it is so hard to watch her diminish. But the moments where ‘real mom’ shines through, when she laughs, make it all worthwhile.

Carolyn Frayn May 18, 2015 at 12:20 pm

Loved this… especially Buddha. :) Everyone on TV used to be her friend too, especially all the current “news people.” She taught many of them the ropes when she worked at HA’s, I’m told. I have no doubt she knew a few news people back then, and probably laid into them about certain ethics, Mom was never subtle… but it’s interesting, and at times entertaining, how her mind interprets past events and rewrites history due to Alzheimer’s. The way you capture this emotional roller coaster of an experience with Mom is incredible. Thank you so much. ♥

Reply

Julie Frayn May 18, 2015 at 12:49 pm

You’re welcome… :D. I plan on another edition all about Harvey Andre’s office. Everyone came by there, usually when they were teens. Interesting is one word for it. ♥

Kathi May 18, 2015 at 2:47 pm

Oh, Julie…

There’s certainly a theme here. It’s like she’s taking some kind of inventory of her life and identity, past and present. One feels like the meaning of it all is in there somewhere, just out of reach…

…always just out of reach.

<3
Kathi

Reply

Julie Frayn May 18, 2015 at 4:00 pm

And when she can’t reach it, her brain fills in the blanks with other bits and pieces to make all new “memories.”

Mary Smith May 19, 2015 at 2:42 am

Hi Julie, this made me laugh despite the sadness behind it. It reminded me of sitting in the doctor’s waiting room with dad cringing as he gave me a rundown on the character and morals of everyone else there – in ringing tones. Mostly true.

Reply

Julie Frayn May 19, 2015 at 6:00 am

Ah yes, the ringing tones. One thing mom hasn’t lost is her hearing, she doesn’t miss a sound or an inflection. Yet she speaks louder and louder, especially outside of the house. Sigh…

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