A Sad Moment

Over the past few days, Kate’s memory has seemed even weaker than usual. She often fails to remember her name and the names of her mother, father, and me. When I show her pictures or remind her of things about them, she generally shows a spark of recollection. That is less true recently and especially so today at lunch and afterward.

She has had trouble with her name and mine all day. During lunch, she asked my name, I said, “Richard.” She said, “I can’t call you that.” She struggled with how to explain, and I said, “Because you feel like you are too young to call me by my first name?” She acknowledged that was true. I said, “How about Mr. Richard?” She liked that.

As she often does, she asked the “name of this place.” I told her it didn’t, but it had an address and gave it to her. Then I said, “Some people think of it as Kate and Richard’s house.” She gave me a strange look. It was obvious that she couldn’t understand why it would be called that. I didn’t say anything more.

We were seated at our kitchen table, and a few minutes later, she said, “This is a nice room.” I agreed and told her I thought she would like to see the other rooms. When we finished eating, I took her to the dining room and told her I wanted her to see a few things from her parents’ house. She gave me another strange look and said, “Did I know my parents?” I told her she did. She said, “I don’t remember anything about them.” This was not the first time I had heard her say this. I told her I thought I could help her remember and started giving her the usual tour.

She expressed less interest than usual. She couldn’t get her mind off the fact that she didn’t remember them at all. She asked me where they are. I decided not to say they were gone. Instead, I said, “They’re in Fort Worth.” She said, “Did they like me?” I told her they loved her very much. She said, “If they did, why haven’t they seen me?”

I cut the tour short when she asked if I had any pictures of them. I took her into the family room to look at the “Big Sister” album that her brother had made for her. We didn’t get very far before she said, “I don’t remember any of this.” She was tired and asked if she could rest a while. That’s what she is doing right now. When she wakes up, she won’t remember forgetting her parents. The question is “Will she be fine, or will there be something else that disturbs her? Either one is quite possible.

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