Tuesday, January 31, 2012


"Margery?" Ellen yelled to her knew found friend. "Why do they talk to me that way?"

A pause follows as Ellen searches the air.

"Margery?" She speaks again, not deterred by the disappearing act her friend likes to play. "Why do they sit there so still?"

A man passes Ellen, sadness touches his eyes.

"Margery?" Ellen cries one more time. "Why must you play these games?"  Blank expression flows from Ellen's eyes.

"Happy Thanksgiving, Mom?  How are you feeling today?" A stranger whispers to Ellen.  She looks at him expectantly, knowing that this stranger bears some resemblance to her beloved Charlie.  She waits for Charlie to emerge from this kind man's eyes.  Charlie's doppelganger looks back at her with the same hope and expectation.  Each give up, pushing back the desire for a sweet reunion.

"Mom, its me, Phillip. Your Son."  Each word spoke, Phillip hopes will resonate in his mothers ears, bringing back all of those memories.

Ellen smiles remembering her little boy.  Confused, she wonders how her sweet little man could be this tall, broad shouldered, gentlemen in front of her.

"Charlie, quit playing games.  That's not funny.  Did you pick up Maggie and Phillip from school?  Its cold outside. They can't be waiting too long?"  Defeat washes over Phillips eyes.  His thanksgiving hopes fade like her memory into the air.

"Yes, Ellen.  The kids are at home."  Phillip doesn't like to play along with his mom's reality so he uses his own version of the truth to keep his Mom from slipping further into confusion.  The kids are at home, with their mother.  Their names aren't Maggie and Phillip but Jackson and Emma.  Two of Ellen's nine grandchildren.

It was Phillip's turn to visit his mom.  Each holiday, one of the 4 kids visits their mom.  The day they realized that the entire family couldn't join was the most heartbreaking day Phillip had ever experienced. The overwhelming confusion that Ellen faced was too hard for any of them to ever witness again.  The fear and anxiety she felt stayed with her for almost 2 weeks, sending her into a depression none of them had ever seen.  She was a shell of the sprite, optimistic woman that raised them.  They decided it wasn't worth the painful setback she experienced just so they could have more family time.  So they took turns visiting her.  Each child got a holiday plus their own day of the week.  The rules were that they played along with whatever reality Ellen was in that day.  Phillip, the only son and youngest of 4 children had the hardest time sticking to the rules but his desire to preserve the short time they had always won, leading him to often pretend he was Charlie, their late but precious father.

"Charlie?" Ellen whispered, directing her curiosity at Phillip.  Today was different then most.  She seemed to realize he wasn't really Charlie but the resemblance they shared confused Ellen.

Phillip didn't know if he should play the game or try and convince her of who he really was.

"Its me, Ellen." Ellen's shoulders relaxed, a smile spanned her mouth then to her eyes. Her arms came up, longing to hold her precious husband.  Phillip leaned down to hold his mom close, wishing he could be the little boy she remembered Phillip to be.

"Charlie, you really must talk to them about these trips. I just hate being away from you so much.  The kids ask where you are all the time."  Phillip signed as he saw the heartbreak of his mom for her beloved.

"I'm trying, Ellen.  They need me too.  But the kids are grown now so they can take care of themselves.  You don't need to bother."  Phillip weaved in a little bit of reality, hoping to ease the burden she was carrying.

"They are?" Ellen looked confused.

"Yes, Phillip lives with his wife, Sarah and their kids on Hanover Street, near the old house.  Kristin lives with her husband and their 4 kids in our old house on Maple Lane.  Megan lives in New York City and Hope lives in Seattle with her husband and their kids.  They are all grown with families of their own.  Well, all except Megan but she's really happy in New York."

The reality of Phillip's words seemed to sink in much quicker this time then previous chats they had but the grief of not remembering such important details was washing over her face.  It settled into her bones an her already hunched posture lost a little more of its height.

"You're not Charlie, are you?"  She said not looking him in the eye.  Embarrassment teaming from her being.

Phillip stepped closer to his mom, bending down to her eye level.  Taking her hands into his own, he whispered. "No, Mom. I'm Phillip."

A tear began to stream down Ellen's face as the shame and embarrassment released itself.

"Mom, please don't cry.  Its OK."

"No, Its not.  How is losing your mind, OK?" She said in tears, as she met his eyes.  This was the most lucid she had been in almost a year.  Phillip didn't remember a time in the last year that his mom even knew who he was.

It wasn't OK, Phillip knew that but wanted to assure his mom that it really was "OK".  Every cliche answer he could give her wouldn't make its way off his tongue.  After some time had passed, Phillip leaned into his mom, hugged her tight and whispered "Happy Thanksgiving, Mom."

1 comment:

  1. I just found this blog today, and I've really enjoyed reading all your posts. I'm also an aspiring writer and have just started a blog for my writing, although a bit nervous about putting it on there so it's quite empty still!
    Your writing is great, it's very inspiring. Keep going! :) Zoe x