Jan 5, 2010

The Garden and the Handbag

"Where is that handbag?" I asked her. "Oh, that's in the rubbish bin," she replied. "It was no good, so I got rid of it.

Earlier today I wrote, Anatomy of a Gift -- Flowers.


Later in the day, we received the two comments below. Both made me smile and -- frankly -- laugh (I mean laugh in a good way). I guess you could say, I've come a long way. These comments made my day. These are good examples of experiences we all go through.

These comments reminded me, I am not Alone.

They also reminded me that when I first came on the job my mother threw her teeth in the trash. It took me a day or two to realize this. After searching the entire place 6 times I concluded she must have thrown them in the trash. She did, for sure.

By the time I took action it was too late. I learned to check the trash every time. Good thing -- you never know what you might find in the trash here. One thing is certain -- it is either important or valuable.
Cecilia wrote:
"Yesterday, my chiropractor told me that his mother would pull out the plants from hers and her neighbor's gardens. Thanks for sharing your stories. It's of immense help to me."
Louise wrote:
Aha, hacking things with scissors. I have a story about that.

My mother bought a leather handbag for $140. It was so nice, I wished it was mine. It had 2 zip compartments.

We went on holiday to the tropics a couple of months back and she took her new handbag. No matter how many times I patiently explained it, she did not understand it had 2 compartments.

She'd put her hand into one compartment and she'd feel her pen or her glasses or her purse through the lining, but she couldn't get to them. She kept saying, "This bag is no good. It's got holes in the lining and my things are falling through."

Endlessly I fished her things out of the other compartment and explained all over again. When we were going home, I said to her, "This handbag is too much trouble for you. How about you put all your things back in the old handbag when you get home, and I'll have the new one." She thought this was a good idea.

So we went home and the next day I went to get my nice new handbag. I couldn't find it. "Where is that handbag?" I asked her. "Oh, that's in the rubbish bin," she replied. "It was no good, so I got rid of it." I hurried to the bin to rescue it. When I took it out, I found that she had got the scissors and had hacked at the lining so that the bag was unusable and ruined. She hadn't cut the lining carefully, she'd absolutely hacked it haphazardly to pieces, as if she was a psychopath with a pair of scissors.

I was devastated. $140 gone to waste! I got very cranky with her. I said "Why did you cut the lining to pieces?" She said "I couldn't get my glasses out of it. I had to get them somehow. I said "Why didn't you just undo the other zip?"

That was a dumb thing to say. Sometimes I say really dumb things to her. There's no way she could understand that there were two zip compartments.

Then she made up a story about the handbag. "That handbag only cost me $1. I bought it from the second hand shop," she said. Sometimes I answer her back because I forget you cannot convince someone with dementia that you are right and they are wrong.

I said "No you didn't! You bought that handbag new, at the winter sales!" And so it went on, me getting upset and her quite sure I was telling her lies. Eventually I gave up and sadly put the leather handbag back in the rubbish bin.

I wondered whether I should remove all the scissors from the house to prevent her cutting up something else. I decided not to. But I fear what item will be next to be ruined by scissors.
Unedited raw material.

Care to share a story with us?

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Bob DeMarco
Bob DeMarco is the Founder of the Alzheimer's Reading Room (ARR). Bob is a recognized expert, writer, speaker, and influencer in the Alzheimer's and Dementia Community worldwide. The ARR Knowledge Base contains more than 4,600 articles, and 349,000 links on the Internet. Bob lives in Delray Beach, FL.
Original content Bob DeMarco, the Alzheimer's Reading Room