Monday, 16 November 2015

We have lift off. (muted)

You know those moments before you tell somebody something...

Shall I do it now?
Or now?
What about now?
While they are still eating?
When they have finished that drink?
When they come back from the toilet?

When shall I tell them??????

Like the moment you break up with a lover, tell someone you are sick, tell someone you are angry with them...

I told Okaasan at 7.25 pm. After the haircut, after she'd walked home by herself, after a nice a deux dinner, after some shared beer....

"There was a special reason you had a nice haircut and perm today! Dear Son has a lovely surprise for you! Look! Here is his letter!!!"

And I gave it to her.

She read it. I waffled on brightly about how nice it will be to visit Kawagoe etc, how exciting, how nice to see her brother and his wife etc..

Her response? Muted. Not negative (thank goodness), but strangely muted. I might have suggested opening the window for some fresh air.....

We talked about it for a while.  Well, I talked and she responded...mutely.

Yes, Kawagoe is where you were born - it isn't where your house is.
Brother's wife's name??? No idea
Yokohama - maybe Chinese food?
Wednesday morning we are going to the airport.
Look I circled the days on the kitchen calendar!

She read the letter several times. She did understand. But her reaction was massively muted.

I guess she needs a long time to process this new information and think about what it means.
There was a news report recently about how changes in sense of humor can signal dementia, with inappropriate laughter at bad news or events etc. I think too many emotional responses are off-balance: lack of empathy "Oh Paris? many people died? Oh, yes" to this muted response to news about a trip to see hometown and family.

After dinner I came upstairs to watch Richard Gere movies and a program about person-centered care for dementia sufferers, and Okaasan sat in front of yet another ice skate program (Japanese TV is full of them) and read her letter.
She kept ON reading the letter...when I was in the bathroom before sleeping I could see her still reading the letter.

So. We'll see how she feels about this trip as today plays out. I have work, but am home to catch cats for pet hell late afternoon, and then home again after an evening class.

Will she get in a panic about the clothes required for the trip? Or get annoyed that a visit to her house isn't included?

Wait and see. :-)


  1. Keep thinking good thoughts. Maybe, just as you said, it takes time to understand words. Never in her wildest dreams did she think a trip like this would happen. Probablly she'll remember more when she sees her surroundings.
    Please take care and time to breathe!! Keep posting. Sending good vibes.