How Daughter Is Sure Mother With Alzheimer’s Will Get The Last Laugh

Daughter is sure her mother with Alzheimer's will get last laugh.

How could I laugh?

How could I not?

Laughing with my friend and neighbor, Pat.

For the last couple of years, she has posted stories on Facebook about Momma Jane.

Her 91-year-old mother who is living with Alzheimer’s.

This means, of course, that Pat has been living with Alzheimer’s, as well.

You expect that.

You expect a disease as awful as Alzheimer’s to affect an entire family.

What I didn’t see coming,

Was the laughter.

Yes, laughter.

Pat just has this way.

Of sharing the absurdity.

Maybe you know this, too, Dear Reader.

With your own loved one with Alzheimer’s.

Or cancer,

Or divorce.

Some awful situation that brings you to your knees.

The thing that most folks don’t acknowledge,

Between all the awful moments,

The heartbreak.

The sobs.

The wiping goop away from your nose from crying your guts out,

There are things so bizarre,

So unexpected,

So funny.

Yeah, funny.

Before you ask Pat, “How could you?”

She will tell you, “How could you not?”

Because in the moments you are laughing, at least you’re not crying.

Like the time Momma Jane had a bad case of the sniffles as they drove down the highway.

“Get a Kleenex,” Pat told her.

“I don’t need a Kleenex,” Momma Jane insisted.

“Yes, you do, here blow your nose,” Pat insisted back getting more and more aggravated.

“I don’t need to blow my nose.”

“You do, you keep sniffling.”

It got quiet.

Pat turned to look.

“Is this what you want?” Momma Jane asked with a straight face.

There was Momma Jane with Kleenex shoved up both nostrils.

The bottom half flapping in the wind of the air conditioner as Pat is trying to focus on driving 70 mph down the highway.

“I burst out laughing,” Pat remembers. “Momma Jane burst out

laughing. And then, she blew her nose.”

I share knowing I can’t do justice to Pat’s stories.

The way she’s able to laugh with her mother.

Not at her.

Momma Jane knows this.

Knows Pat posts their stories.

Knows Pat’s heart and intention.

“Go for it, baby,” Momma Jane told Pat after reading some of the postings.  “Make people laugh. This is funny.”

And so, Pat has found a way to celebrate the woman who has been her mother for 69 years.

Even if these days, both women acknowledge they’ve swapped roles.

“She told me awhile back that I’m the momma and she’s the daughter,” Pat says wistfully.

There’s more of that to her posts lately.

The wistfulness.

Momma Jane is fading.

“I’m tired. I’m just so tired,” she told Pat a few weeks ago.

As if she knows.

Her time is short.

She hasn’t been talking much.

She’s still in there.

Make no mistake about that.

Just the other day, Pat’s husband caught Momma Jane crinkling up her nose at her as she carried something out of the room.

Pat smiles.

She knows.

In this story,

Momma Jane is going to have the last laugh.

How could she not?

Momma Jane’s laugh and sense of humor will live on well past her days on this earth.

Have you laughed when others couldn’t believe you could find humor, Dear Reader? Please share in the comments section below.

((Please catch my column each week in The Atlanta Journal Constitution, The Dayton Daily News and other Cox Newspapers across the country.)))

And if you enjoy this column, you might enjoy my book,

“Hope Possible: A Network News Anchor’s Thoughts On Losing Her Job, Finding Love, A New Career, And My Dog, Always My Dog.”

final front cover



How Daughter Is Sure Mother With Alzheimer’s Will Get The Last Laugh

by DarynKagan time to read: 2 min
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