He said, she (thought) she said


I came home late the other night from one of my cater/water gigs and sure enough Miss Cathy was awake and ready to share whatever “goodies’ I brought home to eat. I was so busy working that by the time I got to the kitchen the only things left were “greens” (a mix of kale and turnip greens) and Mac and cheese (all that was missing was the fried chicken to round out a good southern meal).

While I warmed up the food Miss Cathy was all excited to tell me that my ex, Chad had called to talk to her. Before she got into what they talked about she made a big deal of telling me that she was “half asleep” when he called so she didn’t recognize his voice right away but soon they were talking up a storm. Between mouthfuls of food she proceeded to tell me everything that was going on in his world (all of which I already knew) but it was great to see her so happy so I just let her talk (for a little while at least). She was obviously touched by his thinking of her and that meant a lot to me, too.

The next night Chad and I talked, catching up on our weeks’. Towards the end of our conversation he asked me if Miss Cathy told me that he had called. I told him that she had, prattling on and on and that she was so excited he’d thought to call to talk to her. He listened, then asked, “was that all she said?” and with some hesitation in his voice he said, “I have to tell you something that I think you should know.” He told me that at one point during the conversation that mom was at a loss for what she was trying to say and that the pause became long and bordered on uncomfortable.

He said that it was as if while searching for the right word she got lost in thought and confused about not only the word that she couldn’t remember but the topic as well. Chad said that he didn’t know quite how to handle it so he tried prompting her with a variety words thinking it would help “jog” her memory but then he was worried that “all the words he was throwing out at her” might be further confusing her.

What bothered him the most (I think) was when she finally “found” the word she was looking for it was “car-pooling” which had nothing to do with the subject they were talking about but Chad played along as if that was the topic at hand.

He said that he mentioned it because he wasn’t sure Miss Cathy would. I told him that she hadn’t mentioned that part of the conversation and that I understood all too well what he had experienced and I was grateful he told me about it. Thankfully it’s only one a few signs she displays that there’s anything wrong with her. He did the right thing by trying to help her remember what she was trying to say and that there is no “right way” to be in those moments.

It wasn’t until the next day when she brought up the conversation again, that it “clicked”. She said,” I don’t know what he must think of me, he must have thought I was drunk or something because I was “half asleep” when he called.” “I was laying there and I just couldn’t get myself together.”

That’s when it dawned on me that she had known something was “amiss” during their conversation and she was genuinely concerned with what had happened and how she came across to Chad. It also sounded to me like she was “covering her ass” with a convenient excuse (which to be fair) “half asleep” might possibly account for her not recognizing his voice at the beginning of the conversation but not the uncomfortable pause and use of a word that had nothing to do with the topic which was deep into the conversation.

I find it interesting that she knew that it happened and chose to find a way to blame her confusion on “sleep”, instead of attributing it to her condition but I’m used to that by now. Whenever anything occurs it’s never her fault or a result of her dementia, there’s always another explanation or place for blame. She may not remember what she said but she knows how to cover things up-or so she thinks.

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