Thursday, September 2, 2010

truth and lies

Who would have thought, I would learn to lie from my Mother.
(She's teaching me to swear too, but that's a different story.)

Well, that's not quite accurate either, I'm learning to lie because of my Mother.

My friend PW came along with me today to visit my Mom.
PW understands dementia and Alzheimer's and has been a support for me through all this. She's also a very outgoing and friendly person and can easily converse with folks and make them feel welcome.

There weren't many chores to do today at Mom's, so it was just a day to visit with Mom and take her out to lunch.

Mom has a new person to talk to, she has met PW many times before, but she doesn't remember. She has someone new to tell all her stories to. PW understands, she knows that much of what Mom says is not true or accurate, she understands lost words and incorrect words. She doesn't mind, she's carrying on this conversation with Mom like it's... the most interesting stuff she's heard in years.

Then I understand, PW is fabricating her stories just as much as Mom is confabulating hers. PW whispers in my ear, that I'm trying too hard.

I try to bring to the conversation truth and reality, and it's too much, and she can see my frustration. I have to learn to let go and go with the flow, I have to learn that the facts no longer matter, the mood and temperament of the conversation matters. We were all having a nice lunch, talking about absolutely nothing real.

I feel like I'm Alice talking to the Queen of Hearts. There are words being spoken but I can't follow the conversation. What does it all mean? What does it matter?

On the way back to Mom's house, Mom sees a car like her car, the one I took away. "Oh, a Subaru, I had a Subaru just like that." (This is the second time we've heard this in ten minutes.) And before Mom can get another word out, PW chimes in "Oh I had a Subaru too, but I like my Toyota better."
I'm just about to say "I didn't know you had a Subaru" when I again realize that (1) PW never had a Subaru, (2) she has deflected the conversation, (3) stopped Mom from ranting and fixating on her lost car, and (4) told another fabrication.

Can I use this approach in the rest of the world? I'm a shy person, who cringes at making small talk at cookouts and dinner parties with people I've never met before. Next time I'm faced with that awkward silence at the dinner table, I think I'll mention my safari excursion to Botswana. What's a little fabrication among friends?

1 comment:

rainsinger said...

It is a strange talent but so easy when it isn't your own mom. Feel free to come practice on my mom. Thanks for your help this morning. I think teamwork may get us through!