Friday, July 3, 2015

Brain Child

My mother in law and I were discussing an old recipe, one that a friend had given her and she had passed it on to me before I was married.  It was funny that both of us had the recipe on our minds at the same time making me wonder what vibes we each had picked up from the universe.  She had lost her copy so I sent her a fresh one and she called to thank me for doing that.  Neither of us had made the silly thing and my excuse was that I did not have a gelatin mold.

"Yes, you do.  I gave you one." Okay.  That might have been ten years ago. She's one hundred years old. So, she gave it to me when she was a mere ninety. I've moved three times since then and while I may very well still have the item, I'm sure it wasn't on the "priority" list of things to un-earth and find the right place for.  We're still looking for the marble top for a table that we moved four years ago.

The other morning, as I stepped out of the shower, I heard a beeping sound coming from my kitchen. As I went in to investigate, thinking that one of our new-to-us appliances had some kind of an alarm that we had inadvertently set the night before, I discovered that it was my cell phone.  The screen displayed a warning......"Tornado Warning. Take shelter immediately".  Seriously?  So, instead of taking shelter and possibly avoiding death at the prime of my own life, I called my almost ninety-four year old father and advised him, so as to possibly save his life, before setting down to watch the news and get a better idea of how long we all had.  Dutifully, I called him back, not long after the first call, insisting that he also sit down and follow the news.  "Why, is there bad weather coming?".  Who was that other man I had told of the warning only ten minutes earlier I wondered.

I just finished reading Lisa Genova's novel, Still Alice.  It's a wonderful but terrifying story about a woman who falls victim to early -onset Alzheimer's Disease.  Everyone should read it.  It made me so much more aware of how the brain ages, what goes on inside our heads as brain cells go through the intricate maneuvers that they do, on their way to a totally new place.  Why do I not recall the gelatin mold my mother in law did not miss a beat on?  Why did my father not remember having been told that a tornado watch was on?  What made that information shoot through with the ease of water through a colander?  What makes cats think every experience they have is brand new and yet they know if the slightest thing has changed in their environment before their owners do? Why can I know, without a doubt, that one of my kids is not happy? How did my own mother know that, never failing in her instincts, always ready with the exact right answers or advice.

Will my father remember that three years ago, today, he lost the love of his life and the best brain our family has ever known? He could not remember the phone call about the weather but I have a feeling that today he will remember every hour of the seventy years that they spent together.

God's peace, Angelina Ballerina.  We miss you and always will.

At my father's 90th birthday party

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