A simple list can be so crucial these days. A reminder of what to do, where she's been, what needs to be done next week. Much like her, I've always used lists. I gain joy from marking off each item as I accomplish it. But my lists and her lists are so vastly different, so far from one another, it pains me to think about those differences.
List 1: pasta, mushrooms
A seemingly innocuous list, unless you know that it serves as a reminder of what she currently has on the stove for dinner that night.
Granite City, Belleville, Troy, Bloomfield
A list of cities but also a way of remembering where she's lived since having been married.
List 3: M, Feb 8, 70 years old; T, Aug 20, 80 years old
The most powerful list of all...the one that speaks volumes and brings tears to my eyes...the one that indicates she isn't sure when her birthday is or how many years she's had on this earth.
I look at her, washing dishes at the sink for the sixth time that day. I watch as she goes to check the mailbox for the second time in 30 minutes. As she lingers at the counter, eyes fixed on the calendar, perhaps hoping the date and time of a single appointment will sink into her brain. As she struggles to comprehend Dad's medication log or the concept of a donation receipt. I see her try to help Dad to the bathroom and reach for his breakfast. Over and over, she repeats the same actions, and in her head, she thinks she accomplishes something. But the reality is, she doesn't.
Care for her, be patient with her, find a way to get her some help, love her