Heaven’s in My China Cabinet

It’s Sunday, so that means dinner with my parents. Since we moved my mom and dad back to Connecticut from Maryland to be closer to us, Sundays and Wednesdays have become their night to come over for dinner. It’s been an interesting journey these past two years sitting around the dining room table.

As those of you who follow my postings are aware, my mom has Alzheimer’s. She’s now 84 and my dad is 86. Coming here for dinner provides a balanced meal and some respite conversation for my dad. We get into the same loopy conversations “. . . how old am I? . . . what month are we in? . . . I like to jitterbug . . . where is Becca? . . . Oh, she’s getting married? . . . I just like people! . . . what do you do? . . .”

When they arrive we have a glass of wine and talk about the news – lately it’s been college basketball between John and Dad. We try to stay away from talking politics or religion. Or money. But those always seem to come up.

Mom wanders around looking for the cat while I prepare dinner, and I have her set the table. She reads the magnets on the fridge alongside the pictures of Becca, Jamie, and Chris. Dinner conversation is always a bit wacky. There is a lot of reminiscing and asking questions “. . . what was your favorite subject in school? . . . what was your first dog’s name? . . .” Sometimes Mom will start speaking German or French. John is always able to grab a memory out of her. With some “boop-boop-be-doop” always mixed in.

Tonight my grandmother joined us. My mom’s usual seat at the dining room table faces our china cabinet. Full of crystal and china, its back is mirrored. As usual, Mom sat across from Dad, with John and I at either end of the table. But tonight, Edna/Memom was with us. Every time Mom looked up and past Dad, she saw her mother.

“How could she be here? . . . She’s in heaven . . . I think she’s up there looking down at me . . . I miss her . . . She was a good mother to me . . . My father, not so much . . . I know she’s in heaven . . . And when I’m with her, I’ll help you get in too.” She tells my dad she’ll reach down and help him get in too, when it’s time.

I go over and squat down beside her chair so that both of our images are reflected in the mirror. “Mom – that’s you. Look – that’s me.” We laugh . . . daughter has become mother, and mother has become daughter.

And Memom looks “down” upon us and smiles.

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