Mark P. - Falling in Love All Over Again
I think this is the sweetest story in the world. I will warn you that it might make your allergies act up and your eyes water a bit. I know it has that impact on me every time I think about it. It is about my mom and dad and I thought I would honor them today and post this:
It was four years ago that my mom fell from a landing and crashed through an old French door. She broke her back and had a serious brain bleed. This injury was made more complex by the fact that she was also in the early stages of Alzheimer’s. Her recovery was one giant question mark. She had gotten to the stage in her Alzheimer’s when she no longer recognized my dad or her home. Each day she would pack her clothes so that she could go back to her house. It had reached the point that my dad would have to literally hold her back from going out the front door at night and we had to have a sitter there during the day. This stage normally progresses to a somewhat violent behavior as the person feels they are being held captive by a stranger and will often fight to get away…just as any of us would do. We missed that stage of the disease. I am not about to say there is a silver lining here or that we feel blessed by her injury but that horrible time in her degeneration would have been terrifying for her and she skipped right over it. She also was able to skip the pain of her two oldest, dearest friends passing away from cancer. I think this loss might have been more than her heart could take.
She called my dad Charlie. She also called that man that lived in her house Charlie. She no longer recognized dad but talked to him on the phone regularly and wondered why he never cam home. She thought my dad was a stranger that lived in her house also named Charlie. She didn’t know why the other Charlie moved in but she would talk about him a lot and really wanted him to move out. It got on her nerves that he was there every night. She would call my dad on the phone and complain about him. She would say, "I wish you would tell that old gray headed man to move out." I remember my dad trying to convince mom that he was her husband and then she would look at him like he was crazy and tell him, "My husband is dark headed, a lot younger and a whole lot better looking than you." I remember her calling me and telling me that "That old fat man won’t leave."
It is with this prologue that I can now tell you the story. My mom loved to ride around in the car. She loved life, the beauty of nature and the excitement of being around other people. When her Alzheimer’s progressed and she no longer drove her car, my dad each evening would take mom for a ride around town, usually to find her “house”. Even though she didn’t know why this Charlie was willing to drive her around she always thanked him for doing it. The back seat of the car would be piled up with her luggage, and their dog "Little Roscoe" would be up on top of the seats next to the back window.
They would usually…always, end up at Baskin Robbins (Mom’s favorite place for as long as I can remember) for a little ice cream and of course would have to get a small bowl for Little Roscoe (who prefers to be fed ice cream with a spoon-can you say spoiled?). On the weekends dad would take off with mom and the dog out through the country and ride for hours through the hills and old stomping grounds of their childhood. These tours went on every weekend. One day as they were driving along the countryside, my mom asked my dad to pull the car over off the side of the road. She insisted and my dad pulled over. She looked at him and said, "I need to tell you something. You know, I am married to Charlie…I have married the wrong man; I should have married you." My mom, with her loss of memory from the past, had fallen in love all over again with the same man she had fallen in love with as a teenager and married over 50 years ago. There is no sweeter love story than that. There could have been no better Godsend to my dad who was so often at his wits end (and never complained) than to have heard these true heartfelt words from the woman he loved.