Yikes, that was a weird one.
It was just after 4:30 in the afternoon. My mother asked me what time work ended. I am working from her dining room table right now so I assumed she meant me. I told her 5:30. She said she thinks she’s done at 4:30. Okay, maybe her last job let out at 4:30. She said the best part about getting old was not having to go to work anymore. I figured that was the end of the topic.
That’s when it went off the rails. She said that the house we are in right now, the same house that has been her home for 50 years, was just where she worked and that she had to go home. I told her she was already home. She said she had to go to her mother and father’s house. Ummm… She hasn’t lived there since 1967, as far as I know. I told her that her parents were gone. She then changed gears a bit. Yes, her parents are both dead, but her sisters are still at their house. I told her that her brother and sisters all had their own house. She said no, she had to go there to see them. She said she really needed to see them. There was a break in her voice that sounded like it might have been the start of tears, or a little desperation, or maybe just frustration.
Damn. I know she talked on the phone to her younger sister the last time I was here. Her older sister, my godmother, is in Alabama and I’m not sure what kind of mental state she’s in. Her brother is still around, with a slew of health problems of his own, and he has always sort of kept to himself. Not in a bad way, we just never heard from him as much as from my aunts. Needless to say, none of them are living in their parents’ old house, and none of them are expecting a visit today.
I tried to bring her around to something she talks about regularly and eventually I did and it seemed to ground her again, though I am not sure she actually realized it. One of her go to subjects is her parents’ deaths, and another is where her kids’ names came from. I said her father died when I was a baby. She came back with he died in 1972. Yup. I asked if her mother died in 1998 and she said yes. She asked if I was working here then. No, I was living here and I had just gone back to college. I was 27 and I had a Sociology final exam on the day she died (I think… it might have been the day of her funeral). She said her brother was near her when she died. I said one of her brother’s daughters was actually with her.
She looked a little surprised and asked how I knew all of this. I told her because I was her son and her brother’s kids are my cousins. Really? Yes, really. Back to this again, I thought. Who is your father? Your husband, I am named after him. Really? That brought us back to the other go to subject. I told her that when she was a kid she decided her first born son would be named after his father, and her second son would be named after her father. That’s exactly how it worked out. I was first and am named after my father, and my brother was second and he’s named after our grandfather. That lead to a discussion of where my sister’s name came from and how it was Dad’s suggestion. After that she seemed to be back to normal.
So to sum up… Yikes!