It's January 6--Epiphany--and our Christmas tree is still up. I bring Mom to our house after church to enjoy the tree one last day.
"Tomorrow we're going to take it down and clean up this room," I say.
"No, don't take it down," she begs.
When I take her back to Ocean View Assisted Living, she notices that the pretty lights and decorations in the third-floor elevator lobby are gone.
"The Christmas lights are gone!" she says with disappointment. "They threw them away."
"No, they just packed them away in boxes until next year," I explain.
"Do you think I'll be around to see it then?" she asks.
I pause: this is a serious question.
"Well, we don't know, do we? But I think so--you're not sick. You don't have any illness like cancer or anything."
The conversation moves on.
Note on Jan. 27: She occasionally comments, weeks later when we enter that elevator lobby, "Oh, the lights are gone!"