This past Sunday, I brought Mom to a family cookout of relatives we seldom see anymore. While Mom sat on the back deck with her sister, eating a burger, I talked with 3 cousins (sisters, all of us within a few years of age) in the kitchen. Their mother died this past year and we’d been looking through old family photos, reminiscing.
Cousin Pam dreamily said, “Remember your mother’s apple pie?”
As one, we all melted. “Now there’s a recipe I never quite got the hang of,” I said. “I’m dead-on with the lemon cream cheese cookies though. Remember them? For some reason, my mom called them Lena’s Lemon Cookies.”
“I remember those cookies! Oh my God! I want the recipe!” said Pam. Then she cocked her head and asked, “Who’s Lena?”
“Beats me,” I said. “Thought maybe you might know.”
“Our mom’s could really cook.”
And we went on to talk about Elephant Poop Cookies, ravioli from scratch and meat-a-balls…all this while picking at an antipasto platter and death by chocolate.
That evening, my phone rang. “Your mother’s having problems breathing and we’ve called an ambulance,” said the nighttime nurse.
The next day, I’m sitting on the edge of her hospital bed with my husband. It’s been sort of determined that she has pneumonia, a urinary tract infection and compromised kidney functions brought on partially by dehydration (a fairly common problem with the elderly).
Mom – I hate it here!
Me – If you could be doing anything else…anything…money is no object…what would it be?
Mom (giving it some thought and then) – Baking.
Me (smiling and trying not to cry) – And what would you bake?
Mom (no hesitation) – Apple pie.
Me – Well, I can’t do that one justice, but how about if I bake Lena’s Lemon Cookies and bring you some tomorrow with a cup of Dunkin Donut coffee?
Mom (melting) – You’d do that for me?
Me – Yes, Mom, I would.
Mom – Who the hell is Lena?
More info on dehydration and the elderly can be found at http://nursing-homes.aplaceformom.com/articles/elderly-dehydration/