She stripped the bed and then kept walking back and forth between two piles of linens and lifting them up, looking for something. Finally I cautiously asked, "How's it going?"
She looked up at me. "Well, I've been debating in my mind. Did you and Keith sleep in my bed this week?"
My heart sinks. It's really hard to watch someone you love decline. Her memory is slowly deteriorating and it makes me sad to see this dear woman confused. She gave my husband a wonderful childhood, loved her husband, kids, and grandkids, and makes the best lemon meringue pie I've ever eaten. If you look up the word responsible in the dictionary, the definition would be Marie Vik.
"Then where is Neil sleeping tonight?" Neil, being Keith's older brother and his wife who were in town for the weekend to attend Neil's class reunion. Which was why she was changing sheets in the first place.
"You wanted Neil to sleep in your bed and you offered to sleep on the couch."
She picks up the top half of one linen pile again. "Oh, that's right." She sets the pile down and picks up the other one. Then repeats the process a few more times.
Afraid of being chewed out again, I ask, "Would you like some help? I always like to have two people to make my bed. It's lots easier with two people."
She lifts up the linens again. "That's fine, but I can't find my sheets."
I don't know how to handle this. She doesn't want to be babied, I know she likes things to be clean, but she's already spent 10 minutes lifting piles of linens and I don't know exactly what she's looking for. I suspect she doesn't either. I love and respect this woman and the last thing I want to do is upset her. I quietly tell her, "You know, you washed the sheets you just took off two days ago. You're a very clean person, maybe we could just put them back on."
She looked at me with a mischievous grin, "I bet they'll never know. You just keep this to yourself." (good thing she doesn't use a computer so she'll never see this post). We put the sheets back on and made up the bed and I put the unused linens back in the linen closet, grieving because up until a year ago she would never dream of putting anything but fresh, clean sheets on a bed for guests.
But she's not the same and we're selfish enough to hope that she'd always be there for us. Faithful, loyal, kind, considerate, pleasant, stable, and steady. It's not easy to see your parents get old. We don't like it one bit and know that we have to grow up and ask God to supply the patience and maturity we need to handle this with grace.
And someday it will be our children's turn to care for us. We'll be old and I suspect they won't like it. Not one bit.