After Mom went into the group-home, we continued our weekly shopping trips as often as possible. By then, our trips had become a tradition. Mom never remembered them afterward, but did remember that we were suppose to take them and reminded me often.
More and more, our trips away from the “home” depended on her moods. Since she took several medications, both for physical ailments and moods induced by the affects of Alzheimers. Sometimes she felt really really good and other days found her sad and depressed. On one particularly “good” day, we set off for a morning of shopping and an afternoon lunch at McDonald’s. Mom’s all time favorite place to eat.
By the time we headed back to the group-home, we were both giggly, happy, laughing, and dying to find a bathroom. We’d been gone for more hours than usual and the last store we’d visited did not have a restroom, so I was praying my bladder could hold it till we got back to Mom’s room at the “home”.
Mom and I giggled and laughed as we drove and were truly on the verge of pee’ing our pants by the time the “home” came into view.
“I’m going first, Mom,” I teased her, as I swung into the driveway, Mom’s home now.
“Not if I beat you,” she grinned mischievously and pretended to tug on my arm. We sounded like a couple of teenagers. Me in my sixties and my 80’s something Mom.
“Mom…” I frowned and gave her a “YOU BETTER NOT,” LOOK!
She only laughed as we filled our arms with shopping bags, a snack box of Donuts, an over sized stuffed Puppy with mournful eyes that Mom could not resist.
Me thinking, I’d rather be sitting in a chair with my legs crossed, but relief was only a few steps away, so we struggled to exit the car and shuffled through the front room, where many of Mom’s friends waved and smiled. Down the hall to Mom’s suite where we finally piled all our goodies in a tall heap on Mom’s freshly-made bed.
“I beat you,” I squealed as I careened around Mom and got to the bathroom first. I knew she had only been teasing about trying to beat me to the bathroom.
We had had so much fun, it couldn’t have been a sweeter day. All I could think is how much this would mean to Mom later. Sometimes she was “down” and depressed about being in the group-home and I was absolutely delighted to leave her with some fun and happy memories of this day.
What a relief, I washed my hands then swung open the bathroom door and entered Mom’s bright bedroom.
Mom was standing near her dresser and spun around quickly as I sighed in relief and started giggling anew. A dark, frightened shadow crossed her face before she spoke. “Oh my gosh,” she said. “You scared me to death. When did you get here?” She motioned toward the treasures of our shopping trip piled high on her bed. “What is all this stuff? Why did you bring me so much stuff today? Is it my birthday.”
I felt like crying and bit my lip to respond. “No, I just went shopping this morning and thought I’d buy a few things for you.”
Inside, I felt devastated. All the fun, all the memories of such a pleasant day, rememberd only by me.