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  • by Carolyn Lackey

Where You At?

Meems. Meems. Meems. Sometimes she says the darndest things.

The other day when I arrived for my daily visit, I knelt down in front of her wheelchair and put my face close to hers. Her face blossomed with a smile of recognition.

Me: How are you, Mom?

Meems (verifying what she thought I said): Where am I?

Me: No, HOW are you?

Meems: Fine.

Me: Come to think of it...where are you?

Her lazy-eyed gaze slowly surveyed the room like a lighthouse beacon. Ninety-two. Dementia. Thinking. Thinking. When her eyes came back to me, she softly smiled again.

"Where I'm supposed to be."

Ko-rect-a-mundo, Meems! You are exactly where you're supposed to be.

Meems: Do you think I could get a job here?

"Here," the place of "supposed to be," is an assisted living facility. She was considering the possibility of working as a caregiver. Let's review Meems' current skill sets. She can't see. She can't walk. She sleeps most of the time. Hmmm. Can the blind lead the blind?

Me: Do you think that you could help serve meals?

Meems: No. I can't walk.

Me: Well, then. Let me see...hmm... Could you help people transfer from wheelchairs to the potty?

Meems: No.

Me: I know what you'd be good at! Planning parties! You were really a great at entertaining people back in the day!

Meems: Well. (silence) You know I can't see. I don't think I could do that job.

Me: Why do you need a job? You're retired and you live in an all-inclusive "resort hotel." I pay all your bills. You are footloose and fancy free.

Meems: I need to make money so I can start Christmas shopping.

This be where we at.

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