I was wondering what to write about this morning as I was making my breakfast. I was making a hard cooked egg sandwich. As I sliced the two eggs, I noticed that the center of the egg was slightly undercooked. It was firm, but not the pale yellow instead it was a rich, golden color. My mom, Sybil Miner Beck as a child would have complained. She told us a story of her mom, Rebecca. One day her mom served her some under boiled eggs that were a bit runny. When my mom complained, Becky said that the eggs were overcooked and because of the naiveté of my mom, she believed it. Many years passed before she knew the truth.
Other stories that my mom told my brother, sister, and I about her childhood was about farm animals. As a girl raised on a farm, she was less than knowledgeable of the birds and bees. She thought that the cows were the mommies and horses were the daddies. She thought that cats were the mommies and that dogs were the daddies. Mom said, “Men and women looked different, so I thought that it was the same for animals.”
My mom was very astute with numbers and did taxes for more years than I could count. She started doing taxes with my dad’s dad, Edson Thomas Beck. She helped him with the payrolls and taxes of several multi-million dollar companies. When my granddad became too old to keep books for them, my mom took over.
Gradually, as Alzheimer’s disease robbed her of that ability, it also stole her memories. My mom loved to tell stories from the past of her family and her work experiences. Those memories slowly fled and died. When we gathered as a family, and we started to retell tales that she told us, we would say, “Isn’t that right, Mom?” It would hurt when there was no spark of recognition and she would say, “If you say so.”
She forgot how to read, she forgot how to bathe and to dress, and finally forgot how to eat. She was finally placed in a nursing home after she threatened to stab my dad with a meat fork. That wasn’t like my mom normally. She was feisty, but never mean like that. Dad couldn’t deal with her alone, safely.
It still hurts when I think of her and how her mental health and memory declined.