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Just the Other Day: In Real Time Together by LuEllen Huntley

In late December 2013, my father begins to show signs of end-of-life Parkinson’s disease syndrome. Our family decides to pursue skilled nursing as the option before the complex becomes more acute. I recall one of the professionals saying, “A transition from home to skilled nursing goes one of two ways; a resident either adjusts or declines.” In my father’s case, it becomes the latter. My mother – quite present during the final weeks of my father’s life – remains devoted as ever. From January 29, 2014, the date my father passes away, until August 2017, Mother enjoys independent living in a welcoming continuing care community. Then this changes. She falls, breaks her left hip, and a descent into dementia presents.

their time and attention; the atmosphere here never fails. Sharing healthy fare in a relaxing place marks our time together.

On this day my mother notices rings I am wearing. At times I place on my left hand my father’s gold wedding band and mother’s emerald and diamond ring on top of the wedding band. My mother notices rings. She does not, however, recognize her emerald and diamond ring or Daddy’s wedding band. A loved one whose mind erases itself offers a peculiar knot that cannot well be untangled. She thinks I bought new gems; our conversation shifts to jewelry for a few minutes before talk changes to the topic of selecting homemade delicacies from the dessert case. Mother loves to look and choose several to take home for later. Thyme and Place owner Leslie Philip and servers LaDonna Koontz and Missy Chapman grace us with

we secure even better parking and go in the small store without upset or questions about what we are doing. Fortunately, Opulence carries Patricia Green bedroom shoes in mother’s size – soft pale blue. Perfect fit. I make the purchase, unrushed to savor the experience of buying a gift for my mother in real time together.

After lunch I think it a good idea to chance another venture as mother can use a new pair of house slippers with substantial back and sole. I think – Opulence of Southern Pines, downtown on NW Broad Street, as I know this specialty boutique carries pajamas, robes, and all things bedding and bath. Belk seems much too far at this point in the afternoon; Bed, Bath, and Beyond, too big and frantic. Parking on NW Broad Street – a cinch this day – seems a good omen, but for some reason my mother becomes upset because “It is a weird kind of grieving she thinks my intention is As of late, I never know what to shop for myself. Nothing process, losing somebody over a I say makes sense at this to expect when my mother and I venture out these days moment once she fixates on period of time.” because Alzheimer’s dementia this thought. I realize it best to In Pursuit of Memory: continues to manifest in abort looking for house shoes The Fight against Alzheimer’s emotional upsets, delusions, and take mother back to the – Joseph Jebelli fear and a spectrum of assisted living facility where unpredictability. Recently my she lives. mother and I share the European Brunch at Thyme and Once there, I prepare for mother a bit of Thyme and Place Place Café in Southern Pines. Deviled eggs, assorted meat chocolate icing cheesecake and serve with a Coca-Cola and cheese, tomatoes, red peppers, fruit and a biscuit with over ice. The treat agrees, but as soon as mother’s attention butter and jam remind me of an English ploughman’s transitions from the afternoon dessert, she says, “I want lunch. The café, cozy and uncrowded, meets criteria for to go shopping; I need new house slippers.” I think, all a satisfying outing. Mother settles in with a glass of fresh right. Off we go on the house slipper mission for a second lemonade. time. I trust intuition and go back to Opulence. This time

20 | AUGUST 2018

The best part of the afternoon happens when we return to her “forever” home at the continuing care community. “I love my new slippers,” she says. And she does not give them back to me which sometimes these days she wants to do. These slippers she accepts as hers. Several days later when I am visiting mother she says, “I

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OutreachNC August 2018  

Living Healthy, Dream Sleep Science & Mystery, Birding in NC Dunn-Erwin Trail, The Importance of the Right Fitness Equipment, Cancer Survivo...

OutreachNC August 2018  

Living Healthy, Dream Sleep Science & Mystery, Birding in NC Dunn-Erwin Trail, The Importance of the Right Fitness Equipment, Cancer Survivo...