Joe, at almost 95, is in the netherworld of dementia. He pretty much lives wrapped up in himself and his own immediate needs and affairs, most of which are off balance with what we perceive as reality. His idea of thankfulness has never been very present in his psychological makeup, and at present he seems to have little or no awareness of the extent of the loving care and attention he is receiving. He is angry in moments when he realizes his entrapment and then his moods usually turn to helpless and hopelessness, but in between times his underlying sweetness often comes into play changing his behavior for a little while into child-like living.
Today, while he was wandering around the garden, he must have been awestruck when he came upon this glorious bush, covered with brilliant pink flowers. I would have loved to have heard his inner conversation. Was he drawn to the innocence of the blossoms, something like he himself, blooming for no apparent reason, or did he just have a sudden urge to pick one and bring it in to give to me? I wonder what tickled the remnants of his mind that prompted him to break a single branch and come inside the house, saying simply "I have brought you a flower. It's for you."
This may not be so full of wonder had he ever given me flowers before! He never had! He was just not that sort of a person. This was the first flower he had ever given me in all the 64 years of our marriage! My treasured thanksgiving flower speaks testaments of love and faith and thankfulness.
I wonder if he had caught the Thanksgiving energy that is circulating in our hearts at this season. Had it automatically seeped into his psyche? It sometimes seems to me that demented minds have keener sensibilities in different dimensions than those we ordinarily have. To me, that calls for us to dwell on lofty ideals. To do that has awesome power to work for good.
Since writing about this happening, which lit Joe's mind with thankfulness and lifted my spirits so much, his recall of it became engulfed into the dark caverns of his unconsciousness to become yet another forever lost memory. It is now locked inside Joe's ever diminishing capacity of remembering....a sweet thing living where all the other orphaned memories reside. They call to me fervently to recreate them once again. My answer is that thankful deeds of kindness can never be forgotten. I tell them that my pen is the sacred instrument through which they shall live again.