Dec 9, 2013

I Tried A New Approach

I always answer by taking the question seriously and trying to come up with interesting answers. But this time...

By Marilyn Raichle
+Alzheimer's Reading Room

The Art of Alzheimer's

Mother has some major preoccupations – with two questions that she asks me over and over and over.

What do I think Seattle will be like in 50 (or 55 or 250 or 500) years?

Do I think that women will begin wearing skirts again instead of pants?

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I always answer by taking the question seriously and trying to come up with interesting answers.

This week I tried something new. I turned the table and asked her the questions.

“What do you think Seattle will be like in 50 years?” I ask

“Well, I won’t be here,” she laughs.

“I wonder what it will be like,” I persist
Now she’s interested.

“Well, I think women will be wearing skirts again."

“I don’t’ think there will be any room – the streets will be full with people everywhere.”

“My grandmother would be so amazed.”

“Do you think we will still drive cars?” I ask.

“There won’t be room. Maybe we will all fly.”

“Things change. That just what happens – there is nothing you can do to stop it.”

And then – out of the blue…

“I want to live to be 100.”

I always tell her I want her to live to 100, but this is the first time she has ever expressed that desire herself.

Mom’s family tends to be very long-lived. Since the 1850’s, a surprising number have lived into their mid to late 90’s – announcing when they will die and, right on schedule, doing so.

I’ve always thought that Mom would reach 100 by forgetting to tell herself to die.

But – just perhaps – she will tell herself to keep living.

Hope so.

+Marilyn Raichle writes The Art of Alzheimer’s – How Mother Forgot Nearly Everything and Began to Paint – a blog about her mother Jean, art and Alzheimer’s. Marilyn also works as an arts management consultant in the Greater Seattle area.
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