Is it dream or imagination? Here I am, walking through a cavern filled with towers of disintegrating black moss stretched upward into dark infinity. Or are they columns of cobwebs?

It is mom’s brain I am dwelling in, and nothing is happening there . . . but for a white-blue flicker off in the distance. What is it? I make my way toward the only source of light, of hope, in the vast dying landscape until I reach . . . a bathroom nightlight.

Mom and I began a scrapbook this week. On page one, mom’s only two existing photos of her mom and her dad – separate photos, as they were estranged. Between them I placed a photo of mom at age 4, with her chestnut-haired bob and pinafore, standing in front of a fat goose. She looks curious. Her hairstyle looks much the same; her little-girl demeanor, discernible even in a still shot, is cut of the same curious nature of the woman who spent an hour last night taping a phone wire to the dining room wall, and who hid a piece of toast in a manila folder in her filing cabinet.

I hugged her six times yesterday because she cried. “I want to get back to my family,” she said.

The frenetic holiday pace has left her dizzied. Care giver replaced by new face (daughter). Then another new face (grandchild).  Disrupted bed routine. Sleepover at another house. Too much traveling. A movie with a mean tiger in a boat. Where are we now? Can I have a cookie? A chocolate?

This mad pace has its reason; its countdown to her move into the facility and shaking up the routine is part of the preparation.  Annie the care giver came back yesterday, plagued with some horrible infection and no health insurance. She was going to drive 1.5 hours to borrow her girlfriend’s antibiotics, but I took her to the clinic and paid for the slack in our lagging health care system. Now she is sleeping soundly, as is mom.

Speaking of health care, I signed papers today to make the move official. Demetia care starts at $5,000 a month, and goes up as more services are needed.

I obsess over what to take to keep mom a modicum of her old self. 1. Bathroom nightlight. 2. Lindnor chocolates. 3. English breakfast teabags.  4. Lipstick.

At the moment, I can’t think of anything else that might work.

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