She still smiles at most everything, but she is losing more cognitive ability, more and more associations to words and meaning. Last week, she did something so bizarre that it shocked me, and I realized how far gone she is in this disease, which I just want to go away but which is taking her away instead.
And then there are times when some old piece of her rears its head and equally breaks my heart. My brother was telling us about the time he hired on as a merchant marine hand, and the ship he was on went to Cairo, Egypt, and how he and crew members had hired camels and trekked into the great Sahara to see the mighty pyramids, and how they were mighty, magnificent, amazing to see.
I have always wanted to see them, I said.
We should go, piped in my mother with all her old spirit. We laughed, my brother and I, in surprise and pleasure at her enthusiasm, and she because, well, because she has a laughing heart. Oh, we should, I thought, my dear, dear mother, but it will be in another life for you and me––moments like this, when I see her old self both gladden and hurt me beyond words.