Monday, December 6, 2010

My Thanksgiving Flower, by Margaret (Peggy) Knorr

Today my husband brought me in a single flower from the profusely blooming camellia bush in our garden. Let me explain why that to me was such a momentous experience.

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.

A post script, added at a later date:

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.


  1. Peggy -- This is a lovely story and brought tears to my eyes, especially at the simplicity of Joe's statement when he brought you the flower. I am so glad that you were willing to share this event with the rest of us.

    The last paragraph (your post script) says so much of what we need to hear, and gives your special perspective on the situation.

  2. Dearest Peggy, Your words are like those of a sage in their insightfulness. I always learn from you- new ways of looking at situations, even in the wake of saddness and impending loss. When you wrote that "demented minds have keener sensibilities in different dimensions than those we ordinarily have." It's as though you are truly gifted with everyday epiphanies. This is not to say that your life has been easy.Quite the opposite, infact, without any family to help you with Joe it must not just be arduous but lonely as well.
    I have never meet anyone with a mind like yours, it's as though you posses an extra sensory perception.
    Joe giving you the beautiful flower shows that what his mind may not be able to remember-his heart does.
    Your Fan-Yolanda

  3. From Barbara Sparks:

    That was a great story!

  4. From my Uncle Bill:

    Hi, Bonnie. I finally got around to viewing
    the new addition to your blog. It was beautiful, Thanks.

    Bill T

  5. From Charlotte:

    That was a wonderful story--in time to come it will be a comfort to you.

  6. I am your new fan. Your story touches my heart. Gail

  7. You really brought out the feelings from both perspectives of dementia. I read a story one time where a lady in the beginning stages of dementia told her husband. "Never forget I'm in here. This was such a tender love story. Also you're a very good writer. Thanks for sharing

  8. From Kacie:

    Too wonderful. It tugs at my heart.
    God bless

  9. Dear Peggy,
    What a wonderful writer you are and what a sweet story about Joe's presentation of a delicate camellia to his devoted wife. I appreciate that, in your heavy responsibility - and certainly heartache - you sincerely appreciated Joe's sweet gesture. I have never met you but know you are a lovely, sincere, very caring person.