One final word about Alzheimer’s, I hope

I started a fire in the toaster Friday morning. Don’t worry: I got Louisa’s PopTart out just in time.

Because I saw the incident coming, I’d already been holding the contraption to the open kitchen window when I smelled the quick death of breakfast junk-food. I unplugged it — “Never stick a fork in the toaster,” my first-grader loudly warned me (“I’m not, it’s a spoon”) — and saved the morning, just barely.

Meaning the preschooler didn’t fall apart in tears. Meaning I could laugh about it and feel borderline Ma Ingalls about my quick thinking under duress. Also the house didn’t burn down, etc., etc.

Chances are, I’ll forget about this by next week. A year from now or later, I’ll read this and try to conjure the memory — what had happened? Why?

Because that’s what a life is, these little moments.

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A litany of little things

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My grandma wrote down everything.

In calendars from funeral homes, she’d write whether anyone came to visit (“Phyllis trimmed shrub after dinner”), masses she attended, and names of people who died, with their ages behind their names. All these little things.

Grandma’s notebooks are inside a scrapbook now beside her bed in the nursing home. Sunday, her fingers gripped mine tightly. Her eyes bore into mine and her mouth was pursed tight, so I kept talking.

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