Folks quietly talking about crops, a broom sweeping the floor, a rolling pin rolling out pie crust and a screen door squeaking to a close, chickens pecking the dry ground beneath the windmill, a rooster crowing, sheets blowing with the wind on the clothesline, the smell of rain and newly plowed dirt, chicken frying in the iron skillet and biscuits baking in the oven, fresh tobacco in a pipe….these are long ago memories of home.
“I want to go home! This is not my home!” Dad wanted to go home, but I was confused because he was at home. He had lived in this house for 25 years…going to work and coming home, mowing the grass, eating meals with Mom at the kitchen table, holding grandbabies, tinkering with his hot rod in the garage, sitting with Mom on the front porch…waving to passers-by. This was home.
How was it that he didn’t recognize this place after so many years? We reminded him of special memories that had been made in this house…people who had been here, trees that had been planted, long-time neighbors who lived close-by, Christmas trees that had been decorated, and apples gathered from underneath the apple tree. No matter what we said, he was determined to make us understand…this was not home!
I finally realized he was longing for his childhood home…even though it had been well over 60 years since he had been there. That home was a solid, long-ago memory, safely hidden from Alzheimer’s in a protected corner of his brain. Memories of the current house had simply disappeared, never to be retrieved again, no matter how hard we tried to bring them back to the surface.
So, I just joined him in these conversations about home…talking about riding on the tractor, planting cotton, gathering eggs for “Mama”, riding the horse, and chasing the dog. It was amazing how easy this was…and it made life so much easier for him and for me. We told him we would head home tomorrow, more than once, and he visibly relaxed…a real burden lifted. Finally, he had gotten through to us.
I never lived on a farm, but I treasure memories of my grandparents’ place. I would love to step back in time to watch my grandmother, in her flour-dusted apron, making a peach cobbler or to ride in the squeaky wheelbarrow as my grandfather pushes me through the garden, bouncing over clods of dirt. These are sweet, comforting, and safe memories….and I hope they stay with me forever.
I finally understood…I would love to go home too.
Grateful & blessed, Tracie
“Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” Psalm 91:1-2
I wrote Dancing Around the Chaos for those who are on the ALZ journey with loved ones…struggling to figure it out and dreading what the next day will bring…but too exhausted and afraid to think beyond the present. It happens to also be a sweet and tender love story that really happened, whose characters are real people. Find it on Amazon: https://amzn.to/2v2paXK
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