Kate enjoys life. Hardly a day goes by when I am not touched by things that she says or does. They let me know that even without a memory, she is still in touch with life through her intuitive abilities. For example, Sunday morning as we were about to leave for lunch, she saw a coaster on her bedside table. It has a picture of orange flowers on it. We have had this set of coasters for many years. She had put it on her bedside table sometime in the past few days. She had no memory of ever having seen it. She said, “Can I take this with us?” I told her it was hers, and she could take it. She took it with her as we walked through the family room to the kitchen. She stopped to look at it more closely in the light of the family room.
Walking to the car, she held the coaster close to her and said, “I don’t want to lose this.” She continued to admire it on the way to the restaurant. She said, “You’ll have to keep me from losing this.” As we pulled into a parking space, she said she didn’t know where to put it. “If we leave it in the car, you’ll have to help me find a place that nobody will see it.” She didn’t want anyone to take it. Then she decided to take it into the restaurant with her and asked if that would be all right with me. I told her it would, and she walked in with the coaster in her hand.
After we were seated and the server came to our table, Kate showed her the coaster right away. Then she placed it on the table to the left of her plate. When we were ready to leave, she noticed the coaster. She asked me if it was ours or “theirs.” I told her it was hers and that she had brought it from home. She was pleased and enjoyed looking at it all the way home. She even remembered to bring it inside, and we placed it exactly where she found it to start with. By then, she couldn’t remember that, but she was happy.
We have a lot of musical experiences that I find touching as well. Returning from lunch the other day, I turned on an album of songs from a variety of musicals. She likes all of them and started singing along with “Some Enchanted Evening.” I joined in with her. She looked at me and said, “Hey, you can really sing.” (At this point, I need to say that I am not a singer at all. I sang in several choral groups in college, but I don’t have a natural gift for singing and have never had any vocal training at all.) To me this illustrates another of her qualities that I find endearing. She is not a critic. She is impressed with just about everything that other people are able to do. There is a sad side, however. This must arise from her inability to do so many things, but I am touched by her ability to enjoy and respect whatever talent she observes in others. She really enjoyed hearing me sing. (Note: That hasn’t changed her opinion that I am not handsome and have a big nose, but she still thinks I’m a “nice guy.”)
When we got home, “True Love” by Cole Porter in the 50s was playing in the car. I started to turn off the engine when she stopped me. She wanted to hear the rest of he song. We sat there together her hand in mine until the last note when we went inside.
Yesterday she used a cup she has had about a year but never commented on until then. She was delighted by the colors on it.
These are all little things, but it makes me happy to see her enjoying herself. I am hopeful these intuitive abilities will remain with her for some time to come.
Three Hours Later
I was about to finish this post this morning when I received a phone call from my brother. When our conversation ended, it was time for lunch. Kate and I returned home about forty-five minutes ago. That’s when we experienced another special moment. It reminded me of a similar experience this past fall. The difference was that last fall she didn’t recognize our house as our current home. I was never sure, but it appeared that she either thought it was the house in which she had grown up or a previous house in which we had lived. Today she clearly knew it was ours.
It began as we entered the driveway. She commented on the house and said how much she liked it. The spring flowers on trees and shrubs are coming out, and I suggested we take a look at the back yard. We walked around the yard. She was taken with the azaleas and dogwoods.
We came back through the garage where she stopped to look at her collection of Dr. Pepper memorabilia. Once inside she loved looking from our family room through the glass doors to the back hard. As she often does, she commented on what a nice room it is. Then instead of going to the back to brush her teeth, she wanted to go to the living room. That’s when I became something of a tour guide telling her about the various pictures, knick knacks, and furnishings I thought might be of interest to her. I was right. It was really an emotional experience for her. She didn’t recognize her own or our daughter’s wedding portraits or portraits of her mother or grandfather, but she loved hearing about them. She took great pleasure in seeing her mother’s silver service and her grandmother’s china. Of course, there were also things like the fresco over the mantel and our dining room furniture that we had purchased ourselves. She hadn’t remembered any of the things she saw. Seeing things and hearing me tell her the connections to our lives was a special joy for her.
From there we went through the kitchen and back to the family room taking in other things that meant something to her. Then she wanted to lie down on the sofa in the family room while I went to brush my teeth. When I came back, she was getting up and going to the living room again. She wanted to rest on the sofa among the things she had seen earlier in our walk through. Yes, her intuitive abilities are alive and well and providing her much pleasure even though I am sure she doesn’t remember any of the specific connections to our lives I had told her only ten minutes before. That would require her rational abilities, and they are almost gone. I think we could all take a lesson from Kate. She takes such pleasure in things that we take for granted. It’s a wonderful world.
Just as I was about to post this entry, Kate walked in the room and saw the picture of her and her brother Ken on the cover of the “Big Sister” album he made for her. She smiled and said, “I just love this picture.” She is now resting peacefully on the sofa across from me. She’s happy, and I’m happy.