Blogs About Mom

I Found Amelia Earhart In My Fridge

No. I didn’t. But it got you reading, didn’t it?

I’ve blogged about this before, but it bears repeating. Living with someone with dementia is like living in the Bermuda Triangle. Or, maybe more aptly, like living in the Philadelphia Experiment. You know, that theory that in 1943 the US Navy teleported the USS Eldridge, a destroyer escort ship, from Philadelphia to Norfolk. One second it was there, looming all battleship grey in Philly. Then poof! It’s gone and ends up where no one thought it should be.

Today’s subject of what I like to call the Worrington St. Experiment is the little ruby-colored fruit bowl I inherited from my grandmother. It’s Depression glass, the sole surviving piece to a long-gone set. Or maybe it is the only ruby bowl she ever had, since Depression glass pieces were often giveaways to get people to buy stuff at grocery stores.

In any event, I can’t find it. I noticed it was gone this morning when I went to pull a bowl down for some fruit with Mom’s tea. It belongs on top of the rest of my fruit bowls. But it’s not there, and I hunted everywhere for it. My kitchen and cupboard space are not that spacious, so there are only so many places it could be. Perhaps someone in Norfolk opened her cupboard today and poof! There was my ruby bowl.

That I hunt for things, and sometimes come up empty handed, is normal and daily. Today it is the ruby bowl. Yesterday it was lids for the cat food cans to go into the fridge. The day before, it was Mom’s crossword book. She puts things in weird places, forgets where she put them, (or that she even put them anywhere) and then I have to do cognitive gymnastics to try to decipher her skewed logic for where things belong.

It’s frustrating but fascinating. She has memory loss and cognitive dysfunction, and sometimes it seems more like memory dysfunction. Every day she sets the dinner table. It’s one of her jobs. Every day, she pulls the table cloth, place mats, and napkins out of the linen closet, which is where they belong. Linen closet—linens—linen closet.

But every day after dinner, when she’s helping me clean up, she puts them all back on a shelf in the dining room on top of the serving platters. Why she thinks that is an appropriate place for table linens is beyond me. I have an unproven theory that she unconsciously wants to keep things visible. A closed closet door may just as well be the Bermuda Triangle to her. But this theory doesn’t explain all the other strange places this once highly organized, a-place-for-everything-and-everything-in-its-place woman repeatedly puts things. Watching her unload the dishwasher borders on the comical.

The ruby bowl will show up. I know it will. Till then, the best thing I can do is try to keep the house as uncomplicated and transparent as possible. And put the table linens back in the closet every day.

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