I often wonder whether my daily calls to my mother make any difference in her life. She's got Alzheimer's and can't remember things from one minute to the next. Our conversations are usually short, and limited to same few topics I know she can master. I ask her about the weather, the time on her watch, and the state of her health. She likes to tell me how 'well' she is doing for her age, and how good she has been all her life at taking care of herself. "J' ai toute ma tete" . . . ("I've got all my head"). How about you? She needs to know that I am OK. We are all doing fine. She is relieved. Several times, she asks when am I coming to visit next. Several times, I tell her, I will be visiting soon, in two months. And wish her good night.
Today, I asked my brother who lives close to her, and has frequent contacts with the staff at the nursing home, what good are the few minutes I spend with her on the phone? Make no mistake, he tells me. Apparently when I was gone to India last month, and was not able to call for two weeks, she got worse, and would not recognize her room any more. Now, she is back to being oriented again.
Yet another example of the power of heart to heart connection, that endures, long even after memory and mind have gone.