72. Where That Place Used To Be:
“Do you remember where that place used to be?” I asked my mum.
“What place?” she replied.
“That place we used to go for summer holidays every year. At the beach. Just across the road, remember?”
“Oh, you mean Mrs. Burke’s?” she asked, her voice suddenly filled with something that I hadn’t heard in a long, long time: recollection.
She’d only been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s a year ago but she’d gone downhill fast. She still knew who I was most days, but the days she didn’t were heartbreaking.
She spoke again and brought me back from my own memories.
“I loved that place,” she said. “Do you remember that ice cream store on the corner just up the road? The one where you’d always order a double waffle cone with peppermint choc chip and rainbow swirl. Or was it bubblegum?”
She frowned and I saw panic sweep across her face trying to remember.
I patted her hand. “Actually, it depended on the day. Sometimes it was rainbow, sometimes it was bubblegum, but always peppermint choc chip.”
“That horrible fake blue color,” she said shaking her head. “It was so artificial!”
I laughed. “Yeah, but it was sooooo good!”
It was good talking about memories like these. Neither of us knew when she wouldn’t be able to recall anything, so we were making the best of it.
And that’s the thing with life; you never really know how much time you’ve got left. The only thing you can do is fill your days with happiness and not sweat the small stuff. Because in the end, the small stuff, or even the big stuff, will just be a distant memory.