I love watching my mother with her friends, old friends with whom she has laughed for years, and who know she is has memory loss, but don't realize how extensive it is. It is almost like having her back, briefly.
Wednesday is my usual day to have lunch with her (we started it because of the Brain Gymnasium. Now I just go for lunch. She doesn't remember it, of course, but is pleasantly surprised each week.)
When I got to her apartment this morning, I heard voices inside. It's also the day the housekeeper cleans, so I thought she was talking with the housekeeper, but when I opened the door, there were her two good mah jongh friends, Paula and Dodie.
They had a mah jongh group going for many years. It was kind of like our Cousins Day, without the overnight. There was eating and drinking and laughing and even a little game playing. Before my mother moved here, the group had disbanded. One woman died and someone else took her place, but was never up to the hilarity of the original group. Dodie moved to a facility with her husband and could not come--and then her husband died. Another woman developed Alzheimers. So what is left of the original mah jongh group is happy memories.
I think Paula is the youngest in the group--she will be 90 in January--and she's the one who is still the most "with it" and this was her second visit to Atria. She picked up Dodie, who had never been there, en route.
Dodie is entering her own tunnel of dementia, though not quite as bad as my mother. She mentioned her husband dying, which I had known about for years, but my mother was shocked. How terrible that nobody told her! She apologized for not sending a card, but Dodie didn't remember that my mother had been at her husband's funeral.
But mostly it was fun listening to the three women joking and laughing and teasing each other. I was not going to stay for lunch, but they talked me into it. Paul and my mother had wine. Dodie and I were the tea-totalers.
It was fun listening to her tell them about living at Atrial, how she joined an exercise class but halfway through her back would start hurting (she's never been to an exercise class and doesn't even know where they are held), how she participates in all the activities (nope)...I just marveled at what she was saying to keep up with the conversation, but she was keeping up with the conversation and having a good time, and who cared whether Paula and Dodie knew there were part of her fantasy or not.