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  • Writer's pictureCarolyn Lackey


Yesterday, I entered Mom’s cozy little room, set down the insulated fabric picnic hamper that now serves as my embroidery basket, and then, knelt to to be on eye level with my sleepyheaded mother.

“Hey, Mom, I’m Carolyn, you’re daughter.”

She knows me about 1 out of every 8 visits. It's easier for both of us if I just go ahead and identify myself.

Her eyes slowly, pensively scanned my face.

“You’re not the right one,” she mumbled quietly.

I’m the wrong daughter. The wrong Carolyn.

Today I did the same.

“Good morning, sweet Mama! It’s me, your daughter, Carolyn."

Again, she carefully studied my face.

“You don’t look like her..”

I get it. I get it. This morning I was not wearing makeup which meant I had no eyebrows. My smile wasn’t encircled with bright pink Fire 'n' Ice LipSense.

I didn’t even recognize me.

I cuddled up beside her on her narrow hospital bed made even smaller by the five foot long u-shaped body pillow that cocoons her and prevents her from slipping off the bed. I heard her murmuring something.

“What, Mom? I can’t quite hear you.”

A bit louder she said, “I have a good daughter.”

Not "you're a good daughter." She has "A good daughter."

I had to laugh. I’m not sure if she’s referring to me, myself, or I. The real daughter, Carolyn, or the imposter. Either way.

She seems to have made a miraculous recovery since her bout of "Knock-Knock-Knockin' on Heaven's Door." Her caregivers wheel her to the kitchen table once or twice a day to share a meal with mysterious people (fellow residents). She doesn't know what day it is or what time it is. Her mind doesn't bother with those sorts of details. I wish that I could peek inside her thoughts to see what exactly is going on in there. Not much, probably. Every few days, she gives me a feeble, but beautiful smile. And, oh, those cuddles.

If I'm going to be an imposter, I might as well have some fun with it.

Tomorrow, I'll be all..

Then, I'll be all...

Then, I'll be all...

And, on and on ad nauseam.

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