Mom seems to be in a sort of holding pattern now. The extreme ups and downs have smoothed out into a slow decline. At least that's the way it seems to me. Joe and I visit her every other day or so, stopping by in the early evening after I get off work.
She is always glad to see us; she says so. Her face lights up; she smiles. But everything seems to take her by surprise -- when I reminded her that SonnyeBoy's birthday was coming up, her face exploded in awe: her mouth and eyes opened wide, as if I had told her something amazing!
She talks, but softly, weirdly. Her thoughts are scattered -- she wondered if I was going to the party.
"What party?" I asked. She thought a moment, then shook her head. A moment later, she said, "She's too young to give a party!"
"Who?" I asked. Again, a headshake.
We show her a photograph that my niece has brought in. It's a family photo taken during World War II: Mom, Pop, my older sister, my dead brother. My Pop's in his Navy uniform; Mom's in a nice dress. My sister has pigtails; my brother squirming in Mom's arms.
"So many memories," says Mom. I tear up.
Mom's dinner comes while we're there. It's a plate with three blobs of pureed food: mashed potatoes and gravy, brown goo, and green goo. There's a bowl of soup and a bowl of fruit puree, a small carton of milk and a cup of OJ.
"I hate it! I hate it! I hate it!" Mom said, the strongest reaction of the night. She won't take a bite from me, but when Jonas (the nurse) take over, she sips a few spoonsful of soup, takes a couple of bites of potato, drinks a little milk. She lets him give her the medicine that's crushed up in a little strawberry Ensure. She tells Jonas that he is very kind. (And he is -- every one of the good people who works there is kind.)
I comb her hair. It makes me feel better.