"Where are all these people going?".....
Most people go through their day being asked a question or two. How are you doing? How's everything going? How's your family? Questions that we answer and go on our way. But for loved ones who have dementia, it's a different story. They are constantly processing information because their memory bank is being depleted. As a caregiver, I can get frustrated or I can calmly answer each question with some humor.
I thought I would give you a run down of some of our conversations.
For the past two nights, we have been visiting with my sister and her daughter and son-in-law from VA. They have a precious little baby girl. Mother, of course, will ask me "Where is our baby?"... I told her a friend is baby sitting.
"Who are these people?" "Your family."
"Where is my brother?" (He died 40 years ago.) "He's in Griffin."
"Where is my Mama?" (She died 44 years ago.) "She's in Griffin."
"When are we going home?" "When we finish eating."
"What time is it?" "10:00."
"Who are all these people?" "They are your family." "Mother, this is your great granddaughter." "Let's make some pictures!"
We are now in the car going home, and she is looking at the cars on the highway.
"Look at all those cars." "Who are they?" "I don't know.... Only God knows."
"Where are they going?" "They're going home like us."
"They're going in the wrong direction." "For them it's the right direction."
"Is this our house?" "Yes."
"Are you sure?" "Yes I'm sure."
I quickly get her out of the car and lead her into the house. I hurry to get her ready for bed. She says, "Where will I sleep?" "In your room."
"This is not my house!...This is somebody else's house!"
"Don't worry, I know the owner and she said we could spend the night."
"Where will you sleep?" "In the other room."
"Are you sure it's okay to sleep in someone else's house?" "Yes, I know the owner... We'll talk in the morning." "Go to sleep." "It's late."
You know what? I DO know the owner of the house...the REAL owner. In fact, I know the owner of all creation. And I know that He holds everything in His hands...including my mother's memories. And He's the one that said we could sleep at His house tonight.
I have often wondered who "all those people on the road" are myself. What is their story? I bet some of them are caregivers too. I really don't know where all those people on the road were going, but I said a little prayer for them before I crawled in to bed.