As mom has aged these past years and her memories have traveled back and forth through the decades, I have always said as long as she knows my name, knows who I am, it’s all ok. Then one summer afternoon, she couldn’t find the word. She knew that she knew the answer, but she just couldn’t locate it in her archives! Then I asked her, what’s my name? She named my oldest sister Joyce, who passed away in 1969. I said no, then she named my sister Lois, who had also passed away. Again I said no. She said I just can’t remember! I said that’s ok mom. I’m your daughter and my name is Donna. "Donna"! She said, as if to firmly plant it in the memory banks so as not to forget again!
Another day, my husband asked her who I was and she said with a smile, “That’s my baby!” What’s her name he asked? “Donna Mae!” she said very emphatically! She never uses my middle name, so that was kind of funny for us. Shoot, I’m happy for her just to remember my first name!
When I left her room the afternoon she couldn’t remember my name, it was one of those moments. A moment that only a parent caregiver can understand. The one who named you, cared for you as a child, helped you as a young adult, and now dependent on you for her care, has forgotten who you are. It was a moment, probably due to the fact she was tired, combined with her new meds, and it passed. But the effect it had on me was a bit longer lasting. It’s all still ok, but I know that each day that comes, could be one of those moments, that she knows that she knows me, but who are you?
So, what’s in a name? A lifetime.