“She isn’t the sister I knew,” my husband says when he returns from driving his sister, Mary Ellen, home last Thursday after lunch.
I don’t know what to say. I understand his meaning but I still don’t know what to say.
This is the second sibling I have heard him make this comment about, the other a brother who died almost three years ago.
“As long as you can remember the good times, the days in Outlook, Mary Ellen seems to have good recall.” I tried to encourage him. In fact it had happened over lunch.
When Bob arrived to pick Mary Ellen up and bring her to our home, she asked her now routine question, “Have you been here before?”
And the answer is always yes as one of us visits weekly, if not more. Since her assisted living community is only eight blocks away, we often make it our daily walk to visit.
But her short-term memory has lost its bearings.
We visit for a time and then lunch is calling us. It is our first time to sit just the three of us around the table as Mary Ellen’s husband died a couple of months ago, and her move near us and a nephew is fairly new. We join hands for grace. Her skin has the feel of thin paper, and her hands are cold. It’s in the upper 80s outside.
We chat amiably while eating. Mary Ellen jokes about her memory being unreliable, and we commiserate with her that ours isn’t much better some days.
Bob thinks of an announcement he recently received from their grade school in Outlook, WA, a tiny space in the road in the Yakima Valley. He mentions the name of the woman who sent it and with whom he has talked. He asks Mary Ellen if she remembers this woman from their grade school days.
She looks up and furrows her brow and says she doesn’t, her now nearly gone eyesight trying to focus on him.
And then she says, “There was a Dorothy Ross in Outlook.”
Yes, this was the woman Bob was talking about but he had used her married name and couldn’t think of her maiden name.
That recalled memory is from decades ago, but our visits with Mary Ellen recently have only been in the last two months. She doesn’t remember us visiting or others calling or coming by.
We sit later that day talking about family and memories. Bob and I know with certainty that we too are growing older daily and our memories aren’t always as sharp as they used to be. We encourage our children to slow down, make treasured memories, memories that will last, and write them down for future generations to read and share on and on.
Otherwise, a family’s legacy can be lost in time and age.
What are you doing to keep your family’s legacy? Your faith journey? Your childhood memories? Don’t miss the opportunity to pass this history along to future generations.
Today I’m linking up with:
and on Wednesday with: