Friday, February 10, 2006

Where the Dead Still Live

The other errand Mom wanted to do today was visit her brother Reynold, who died over a year ago.
"We ought to stop and see Reynold for a minute, shouldn't we?" she asks as we emerge from the parking garage and head toward Baskin-Robbins.
I don't answer, trying to figure out what to say.
I have learned not to keep reminding her that her mother and others have died. Therapists say that discovering this anew can cause grief, and I've seen her upset like this.
Earlier today I didn't comment when she accidentally called me "Mother." I do contradict her when she thinks we are in Colorado. I pick my battles.
It's true that we visited Reynold in Laughlin, Nevada, two years ago this weekend. Furthermore, he didn't have a memorial service--there was no travel to a family gathering--so that makes it harder for her to hang onto the information that he died.
"He doesn't get much company," she continues, as I continue stalling.
Right, I think. He doesn't.
"Anyway, he's a Mason and that's important because the men are Masons and the women are--"
She pauses, trying to remember what the women are, then says "DARs."
The conversation moves to another topic, and I am grateful.
Half an hour later, as we are driving toward Sav-On, she suddenly says, "Maybe he's driving that truck."
I know who she's talking about, but I don't answer her.
An hour later I say, "The errands are done. Time to go back to Ocean View."
"We didn't go see Reynold yet!" she says urgently. She has thought of a reason to avoid going back to her residence.
"No, we didn't," I say, again stalling. "He's a long ways away."
"Where does he live?" she asks suddenly. "Telluride?"
"That's a long way away," I say, not explaining that he lived many years in Washington state. "We need to just go back to Ocean View."
"My big brother might be there," she says.
"You think he'll be there," I comment.
"Yes, it's not that far for him," she says. "He'll say I'm spoiled. I'm the only girl. I have three brothers."
I don't argue. Who knows? Maybe he's there. Maybe it's not that far.
She must have had a vivid dream about Reynold this afternoon before I arrived to do errands.
Either that or she had a visit.

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