Tuesday, April 2, 2013

When is She?

Mom's notes about how Lyn responded to this past weekend made me wonder where she is in her memories.  If her life is a movie that is now in rewind, where is she in that film?  Or is the question "When is she?"

When my husband's grandmother was moving deeper into her Alzheimer's the family was able to recognize different points in her life by her language abilities and the references she would make.  She was from Hungary and, at one point, believed she was 15 years old, living in Budapest.  A few years later and she was a small child who cuddled her dolls.

Lyn's behavior this weekend really made me remember how she behaved about 25 years ago when she was in her mid-teens.  She was so cheerful and willing to help.  She still can be that way as we have seen time and time again.  However, she glared a lot less back then.

My husband's grandmother had some significant life changes that marked her life and shaped her memories.  She married and had children.  The family fled Budapest before the Soviet Army arrived, relocating to the United States less than a decade later.  She was widowed.  Her children married and grandchildren were born.  All of those events, even played backward would let you note the passage of time and her age with each associated event.

Lyn doesn't have such clear life events which would allow us to recognize this backwards passage of time.  She was in school from ages 2 to 21.  She worked from 21 to about 39.  She's been in Special Olympics since she was 6.  In 1990 and 1991, we lived in Montana.  Lyn was 20 and 21 at that time.

While she has had a life of structure and consistency, her life hasn't had much in the way of those highs and lows that help us mark the time.  It may be easier to understand the personal timeline of Doctor Who than figure out her mental age today.

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