Because of this devastating disease, her thought process has become very slow and her ability to recall is practically nonexistent. Our conversations consist of me talking and her smiling… but that’s okay, I love her smile. In fact, the smile on her face when I walk into the room is absolutely priceless.
She knows who I am and always greets me the same way each time I visit. With a big smile on her face, she enthusiastically says, “Billy, I’m so glad to see you,” which is always followed by…”you never come to visit.”
Thank God for music; Mom loves it. Much of our visits are spent listening to Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra songs. Music is magical in so many ways. Somehow it’s the one thing that her dementia doesn’t seem to affect… it boggles my mind.
Mom can’t put one sentence together, but she can sing every word to Fly Me to The Moon, Ain’t That a Kick in the Head…you name it. And even more amazing to me is that she sings them pretty much in tune… and in time. As I said… it boggles my mind.
During our recent visit, after rocking out to the tunes of yesteryear for 20 minutes or so, Mom slowly walked back to her bed to lie down. Just when I thought she had fallen asleep, she broke the silence uttering the following series of questions.
“Billy… what cha been doing?”
I answered very simply, “Mainly working.”
She followed up by saying, “What do you do?” By the way, these two questions come up during every visit. Again, answering with the same refrain as always, I said, “I help customers identify and locate parts for their machines.”
This time she continues the conversation by asking, “Is it fun?”
I pause for a moment and say, “I like my job…I enjoy helping people.”
Then again, she repeats herself, as she sometimes does. “What cha been doing?” This time I went into a little more detail and told her… “I got up this morning around 7am and went to work to help some customers with their machines. As lunchtime rolled around I decided to come here and visit you…and here I am.”
She then said, “Are you going to go home after this?”
“No,” I answered. “I’m going to go back to work.”
She says, “Then what?”
I told her, “I would probably run by the gym for about hour, then go home and have dinner with Leslie… hang out awhile, then go to bed. Tomorrow I’ll wake up to a new day and do the same thing all over again.”
With that explanation, I thought surely her curiosity would be quenched… but not so. What she said next hit me like a ton of bricks.
“What do you do for fun?”
Instantly, silence filled the room as I was absolutely taken aback by her insight. Here all along I thought she was the one who was having trouble thinking straight.
You see… there couldn’t have been a more perfect moment for a more pertinent question.
Maybe it was because I had been feeling lately as if something in my life was missing or maybe just a bit out of sync, I’m not sure…but when I heard Mom’s question, I immediately felt as if all the disarrayed dots in my life suddenly connected.
That’s it! That’s what’s been missing… the fun!
It finally dawned on me that I had been allowing the relentless pursuit of my passions… my routines if you will… to slowly and incrementally snuff out the one thing that keeps them exciting, energizing, and worth having in the first place…the fun.
Good routines are a must, but the problem is, after a while, they can begin to almost take on a life of their own. And as they do, they no longer need your present moments to operate in… leaving you dazed and confused, longing for the very thing we’re passionate about.
All I can say is Mom still never ceases to amaze me.
That very evening, instead of sliding into my usual routine, I decided to break out and have a little fun instead. So I grabbed my lovely wife, went to our favorite spot, and had a drink as we watched the sun set over the Mighty Ohio… simple yet fun.
Never underestimate the power unleashed by having a little fun. Not only does it provide the obvious… but more importantly, it also heals and renews us as it diminishes stress and anxiety, awakening a fresh outlook.
Just a little fun goes a long way in keeping things in balance.
During that evening, while watching the sun‘s glow paint the evening sky, we discussed the simple things in life each of us enjoy, and vowed to once again allow them to flourish…within our own routines.
So tell me… what do you do for fun? …just in case Mom asks me.
Check out this video below of Leslie and me having a little lip syncing family fun.
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