An Unusual Conversation

I find that there are so many things going on in our lives that I don’t come close to writing about all of them. There are also events that I want to report but can’t do so at the time. Then later I forget them. One of these things occurred about ten days ago. Here’s the story.

One of the topics I have mentioned on several occasions involves the conversations between Kate and me. I would have said more if there were more to say. The truth is that Alzheimer’s is hazardous to conversation. Normally one doesn’t think of it, but conversation is dependent on our memories, Much of that involves recent memories like things we have done, people we have seen, events in the news, and places we have been. Kate can’t remember any of these things. That means she relies on her distant past. For a good part of her journey, she has often spoken about her family and, especially, her mother. That has carried her in limited social encounters with friends or strangers. She has also done that with me, but we are together so much that the result is that she doesn’t talk much at all. We say very little wherever we are. As a talker, that has been a significant loss to me. She actually prefers that I minimize my talking. I suppose that makes it more comfortable for her. She doesn’t have to respond.

A week ago this past Saturday, we drove to Nashville to visit Ann and Jeff Davis. Typically, we would spend the entire time in silence. This trip was a notable exception. We talked just over an hour of the two-and-a-half hour ride. During this time, we focused on things for which we are grateful. These included things like our marriage, our children and grandchildren, our parents, friends, things we have done, and places we have been. We kept the conversation at a more general level that didn’t require Kate to recall specific details. I loved having such a conversation and hearing her express her thoughts on all these topics. I am confident that Kate enjoyed it. I know I did. As an added bonus, it made the trip to Nashville seem a lot shorter than it really is.

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