Dementia Mama Wisdom

Trudy on her 87th Birthday in 2017
June 6, 2019
I’ve never confided in my mother about any of the things girls children, teenage girls, or pregnant out of wedlock women girls have been known to share with their mothers.

At four-years-old, in the vast bald prairie, I asked my mother how it was possible for Santa Claus to ride his sleigh on the telephone wires. It was just before Christmas and I couldn’t figure it out.

My mother clasped my hand as we trudged through the snow and said something totally ridiculous to my ears.

"Yes, but it doesn’t make any sense,” I scoffed, amazed that this woman who was my mother did not know more than I did.

“He just does,” she said. “No, he doesn’t,” I said back.

So, it may be obvious why I navigated the rest of my life sans motherly advice, but now exactly sixty years later, I do want my mother’s advice. About a love affair. Although she has been diagnosed with dementia, surprisingly, she is quite lucid much of the time. So, why not? Give it try. I realize I really want to know what my mom thinks.

She puffs on her cigaret - wholeheartedly content and in charge. My mother, Trudy, is also the Poster Child for smoking 72 years straight with no major health problems. At all. This, she seems to instinctively know, which makes her draw on her Du Maurier with an even more ferocious pull.

“So, the first time we made love, and he’s leaving, or trying to; he keeps locking himself in. What do you think it means?”

“It means he is scared.”

My mother laughs like she’s the wisest of all guests on the Oprah show. She throws her head back, looking into me with this ‘confidential’ secret about men.

“Yes, but is that good?”

She giggles even harder; a vivid, raucous belly laugh and then slows down to continue puffing on her cigaret. More serious, “You have to care about him as much as he cares about you.”

That laugh. Reminded me it was the same one she gave to the Handi-Dart driver a couple of weeks ago when he crossed her lap strap for her wheelchair. I said at the time, “ She’s French. She’s flirting with you.”

Secure in this manhood he said, “No, I’m just putting the seat belt on.” My mother: “….that’s what HE thinks!”

They both had a big chortle over that one. My point being — The Trudester is much in charge these days - like I’ve never known her to be.

I’m catching up to listen for the decades I have missed. Nonchalantly, she taps the ashes from the edge of her walker. She, on the other hand, hasn’t missed a thing.

“You have to know who he is first because you don’t want to get mixed up with somebody and then find out it’s not what you want. Just ask, are you single?”

Here, she glares with subterranean knowledge going back what feels like centuries into the very life of the entire world, and adds, “…they will lie to you.”

“You are a pretty smart old bird, mom”
Suddenly, her eyes darken and from out of nowhere — presumably - she raises her voice to say, “…and then they stole my bird and lit it on fire and destroyed it!” Oops.

We’ve accidentally knocked on the door of ‘Crazy Town.’ Time to wrap it up.

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