February 15, 2020

It’s 2:45 a.m. and mom just got up to use the bathroom. She’s as clear-headed and as normal as can be.
On the 8th we went to see a movie. Knives Out. So good. See it. Now.
Almost as soon as we left the theater she talked about how she needed to see the movie again. She’d had trouble following it, and knowing who all the characters were. I spent the week trying to figure out how to be able to see it on her television and resigning myself to going back to the theater. Don’t get me wrong, I for sure wanted to see the movie again. It’s a fantastic movie. Maybe my favorite (after National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation and It’s a Wonderful Life). But it’s hard for me to go to the theater. For one, last time we went to the theater, January 2019, I got sicker than a dog three days later with a virus that lasted three weeks. Damn kids and their germs touching handrails and armrests. More to the point, I’ve got shit to do. Who has time to go sit in a theater for two hours? Plus drive time!
I figured out how to buy and see the movie at home. She’d forgotten almost all of it. It was as if she’d never seen the movie before. So all that normal-seeming behavior is couched behind a brain that can’t remember shit.
So when I told her I was quitting my job at dinner (on Friday the 14th) I made sure I brought it up again on the ride home. She needs to be reminded of things many times over before they transition from short term to long term memory. It can still be done, but it takes work.
I hate my job, sure. But the primary reason I’m quitting, and one I didn’t share with her, is that she isn’t going to be in her right mind for long. She could live another 15 years with this disease. For how many of those will she be active and want to go and do things? I’m losing my mother quickly. I don’t want to miss out on her last years of cognition, only to quit work when she can no longer function on her own and I have to quit working because there’s no way else to care for her at home?
When I said to her at dinner that in five years she might not feel like getting out of the house she rolled her eyes and said, five years! I don’t think she’s giving up on life, but I also don’t think she wants to live to be 90. I think that in some ways she feels like she’s lived long enough. She doesn’t want to die. Her grandson is getting married in a couple of years. She wants to be there for that. She wants to be here for all the accomplishments and life changes of both of her grandsons. She has that magical thinking that we all have that we’ll never die. And yet, when it comes to contemplating life, she for sure doesn’t want to live another five years.
It seems as if each of our conversations, no matter how simple, are so complicated. For now, though, we’re good. We’re safe. We’re happy. We’re in good health. And we’re fortunate to have all of our wants and needs met. I wish you the same.
Happy Valentine’s Day.

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