Two bombs at the Boston Marathon. Two people dead. Over 100 injured.
“That’s terrible,” my mom says after I tell her.
“It is,” I say.
“I want to tell Phyllis,”* she says. “Hold on.”
Three minutes later, she’s back on the phone.
“I couldn’t remember what I wanted to tell her.”
It’s 15 feet from the couch to Phyllis’s bed. Probably less, and my mom moves fairly quickly. Fifteen feet erases the facts from her mind.
“Oh mom,” I say, and repeat what I first told her.
“Okay,” she says, and sets off again.
Two minutes later, she’s back.
“I couldn’t remember it all,” she says. “Something happened in Boston, and two people died. That’s what I told her.”
“The Boston Marathon,” I say. “A bomb. Over a hundred were injured.”
She sighs. “I really want her to know,” she says. “Hold on.”
My mom has been living with Phyllis for 18 months, when they both moved into the assisted living facility. It’s been going extremely well. Phyllis has the mind and can remind my mom where she needs to go. My mom has the body and can help Phyllis with tasks like making tea and putting her clothes into the hamper. It’s a marriage made in heaven.
But the marriage hasn’t stood the test of time.
I got a call last week from the facility that my mom will be moving out. Phyllis is demanding too much and doing it too forcefully, and my mom can’t say no. They say that Phyllis is bullying my mom.
This makes me sad because I feel for Phyllis. She’s old and in pain, and she can’t do much for herself. She’s also depressed and sick of life. And she’s living with someone who has Alzheimer’s Disease, which can try the patience of anyone.
But I don’t want her mistreating my mom, whatever the reasons, so of course my mom will move, with my blessing.
Still, it makes me sad how old age and illness are wearing away at them both, how they can erase people’s memories or turn them into bullies.
*Phyllis is a pseudonym for my mom’s roommate. I didn’t want to use her real name.