It’s a blessing being able to have a sense of humor about yourself and others. One doesn’t usually expect that someone with dementia can retain that wonderful coping skill, but it is possible, at least for a while in any case.
I was sitting with my mother at her care home, talking with her and teasing the staff. Mom said to me, “I don’t know what you’re going to do when I’m no longer here.”
I startled. “What?”
“Oh, I see.,” she responds slyly. “You’ve got me . . .” (pointing down) “underground, you naughty girl.” She’s laughing.
I’m laughing, too, but also wondering what the heck she’s thinking. She is clearly making the connection that coming to visit her is a fixture in my daily schedule. However, where is she planning on going, confined to a wheelchair as she is? I just can’t picture her hopping a bus, nor even knowing where she would ask to go. Or is she contemplating returning to Northern California where she was previously living?
“Well, I may not be” (pointing) “here. That’s all,” she explains. Still laughing about my assumption that she was talking about her eventual death, Mom raises her chin and places a hand over her chest. “It’s a good thing I’m a forgiving person. It’s one of my . . .”
“Finer qualities?” I fill in.
“Yes. I’ll forgive you. Forgive and forget.” She is magnanimous, and I’m still trying to figure out how I ended up needing to be forgiven.
“Well, thank goodness,” I say, relieved to be let off the hook.
Practically choking with laughter, she adds, “Of course with me forgetting is easy.”
“Lucky for me,” I laugh. This is priceless, I think. She’s able to see the humor and make a joke at her own expense.
Mom may have dementia, but she can manage to joke about it and zing me at the same time. I have to work hard to keep up.
Surprisingly, there are many humorous aspects of dementia. Several of the posts on this blog include humorous occurrences or conversations. For a few, click here for “Immigrations and Dementia, click here for “Mom Discovers I Am Her Daughter,” click here for “Confabulation Can Be Wonderful,” and click here for “Care Home Surprises.”