On a whim, I decided to check on mom in the middle of the day. She had been particularly quiet, insisting on sitting upstairs all day long. She came down, to “work” and then would announce that her “work” was done and hike back to her room. She also decided that she had laundry to do – which makes my heart happy because getting her to relinquish her favorite shirt and shorts was akin to me robbing her of precious jewels. So, I went to check, bringing her an old pair of capri pants I thought she could wear.
If it hadn’t been for those pants, I would have not known that she had repacked all her clothes except for a couple of things! No wonder she would declare – “I have nothing to wear. I left all my clothes at home”. Well, I knew better because I personally had taken her shopping and thought she simply had forgotten her new clothes in drawers. No wonder she’d take an eternity to change or get ready for an outing or anything that had to do with making a choice on what to wear!
She expected my sister to show up any minute to take her “home”. The only thing is that “home” is a figment of her imagination because it is a jumble of places – places that for some reason have remained in her mind. She speaks many times of the rice farm “home” where they received a portion of the rice harvested. “Home” is the townhouse that is on the farm next to the rice paddy that is surrounded by roads congested with cars spewing out exhaust fumes so that she has a hard time breathing. “Home” is where she makes herself food because no one else eats the same thing, but she will take home all the recipes she has learned here though she has not touched pots or pans or a stove in years. “Home” is tied to the one person she leans on the most and whose face and voice she depends on to tell her what to do – my sister. I can’t fill those shoes so I will not try. Nor will I try to replace her longing for my sister for other things or people. It is something embedded deep inside her that keeps her going. Just like I consider my home to be where my family is, she too has her own concept of “home”. It is not wrong, it is her current definition of where she belongs no matter how content, or provided for or cared for she is in other places. One day, “home” will be with Jesus, but until then it is tied to my sister and soon, we will be without a choice, but to allow her to stay where she is at “home”.
This challenges me in many ways. She does not consider my home, her home. Our routines are foreign to her. Our friends and acquaintances are foreign to her. Our relationship is fairly formal because though she can’t remember why, she is a proud mama that can’t show weakness to her child. This is July, but isn’t November just tomorrow? Being truly unable to process the concept of time, she sleeps with the light on, is never hungry or tired, but understands that she will be picked up by my sister – when? Well that could be any day now.