I sit looking at my mother as she sleeps sitting up in her chair. The crooked fingers of her arthritic hand flutter against the top of her cane. Her mouth puckers and she sucks at something in her dreams. I wonder what she dreams about.
Earlier she tried to give my father her chair. He’s only sat in it twice since they got it years ago. He was watching TV, caught up in the plot of a war movie. She turned and looked at him.
“Do you want your chair?” she asked.
He saw her mouth moving and turned to look at her. “What?” he asked. He has been slowly going deaf for years. He doesn’t wear his hearing aid because it feels funny in his ear and whoever talks to him has to yell to be heard.
“Do you want your chair?” she asked again, this time a little louder.
“I don’t know what has gotten into you these past few days.” he said, “You’ve been trying to give me your chair.”
“Well, I must be going nuts. I don’t know,” she answered.
Her fingers grip her cane, and then relax. She holds it loosely against her plump belly. Her foot taps the carpet once, and then rests. She sighs and her chest rises and falls slowly with her breaths.
“Does my sister have dementia?” She asked me this morning.
“Yes, she does.” I answered.
“Did she go to live with her daughter?”
“Why?” she asked.
I sigh and then tell her. “She needs a caretaker.” It never fails to surprise me that my mother doesn’t recognize her own dementia or that I am her caretaker. Maybe it’s a blessing.
“She was always the self sufficient one. I’ll miss her.” She said, shaking her head sadly.
As I watch her sleeping, she startles and then opens her eyes. “Do we have any ice cream?” she asks.
“Yes, we do. Do you want some?” I ask.
“Yes!” She licks her lips.
“I’ll get some for you,” I tell her. I smile. I know what she was dreaming about.