Jan 15, 2014

I Remember Swinging on a Gate When I Was a Little Girl

A loving caregiver shows that you can ask a person living with Alzheimer's if they remember.

By Gwen Richardson
+Alzheimer's Reading Room

As our mother has now lost her short-term memory, I was afraid that I would no longer be able to have another meaningful conversation with her.

Swinging on a Gate
Swinging on a Gate

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However, what I learned was that if we went far enough back into her long term memory, we heard stories that we had never heard before and it has been so interesting.

I usually start the conversation by reminding my mother of places where she lived as a child.

For example, "Mother, when you were growing up in Central Texas what were some things that you did as a child?"

I know she can answer that question because we have had conversations about that before.

But one day, I heard a new one.

As were were driving, about sunset, she looked at the sky and said,

"When I was a little girl in Central Texas, I used to swing on a gate about this time of day and look at the beautiful sunsets.

You know, in Central Texas you could see for miles and miles. I would look at that sunset and think that only God could make something that beautiful!"

Recently I found a copy of the painting by John George Brown, "Swinging on a Gate" - a painting with a little girl swinging on a gate.

My sister and I bought it for our mother and when she opened it she was delighted!

She said,

"You know, when I was a little girl I loved swinging on our gate and looking at the beautiful sunsets!" 

We just nodded and said, "We thought you might like this."

Thanks so much for the reminder that somewhere in her memory are stories that we still need to hear and record!

This story, about her mother, was submitted by our reader and fellow caregiver Gwen Richardson.

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