A typical nightly conversation with my mom sounds like this:
“When are you coming?” she asks, eagerly.
“Saturday,” I say.
“Oh good,” she says, excitedly. “Are you staying overnight?”
“Not this time, Mom.”
“You never stay overnight.” Now she’s petulant.
“I’m sorry, Mom, but I can’t.”
“Why can’t you?” Inquisitive.
“I’m very busy, Mom. And I don’t like to leave the cat. She’s elderly, and sick.”
“Oh, okay. I guess you’re never going to come live with your mother.” Manipulative.
“Live with you?”
“Yes. Why not?” Matter-of-fact.
“Where would I sleep?”
“You could share my bed.” Imaginative.
“The twin bed? It’s too small.”
“I could sleep on the couch.” Resourceful.
“You could sleep on the couch?”
“Yes. I like to sleep on the couch,” she says. Self-satisfied.
“Ok, Mom, you can sleep on the couch, but I can’t live with you. I’m too young for assisted living.”
“You are?” Full of wonder.
“So how many years do I have to wait?” Clever.
“Forty? I don’t think that’s going to work.” Resigned.
“No, probably not.”
“So you’re coming to visit … tomorrow?” she starts again.
“No, Mom. Saturday.”
“How long are you staying?”
“For days and days,” I say.
“No, you’re NOT!”
“Okay, Mom. No, I’m not.”
“Are you staying for a day?”
“Ugh, what good is that?”
“So when are you coming?” she asks again.
“Are you staying overnight?”
“No. . . .”
Every night. Same conversation. I hang up laughing and wanting to pull out my hair at the same time.
And yet when I think about her losing the ability to communicate some day, I can’t imagine how I will handle it.
I recently saw the Iranian movie, “A Separation,” about a man who cares for his elderly demented father. The man becomes very upset when his father completely stops talking after a traumatic incident.
“He barely said anything, anyway,” says the man’s estranged wife. “Only a couple of words.”
“I liked those words,” the man says. “They were good enough for me.”
I think that’s how I’ll feel when my mom can no longer talk.
The dialogue is very well-constructed. It’s quite similar to the conversations I’ve had with my mom over the past year. Look forward to reading more of your posts.
Thank you, Steve.
I sympathise. My Dad who is 85 and has Alzheimer’s goes over the same ground again and again to the point where i want to explode. But as you say, I will miss it when he can no longer talk.