Westchester 54


S he must have a window seat. This, she promises, is her last phone call for the night, reminding me one more time, it must be a window seat. I tell her I will do my best, the plane seems awfully full, and since it’s a last minute book- ing, it might be hard. “If I tell you I want a window seat, get me a window seat.” Click. This phone exchange was not long after she had been diagnosed with moderate stage dementia. She had some scary moments; un- settling, jarring, and confusing moments. Having found her curled up in a ball, naked on the floor in her bedroom in Florida while visiting for a long weekend, I knew she had absolutely no recollec- tion of how she landed there. When I shook her from her sound sleep, she smiled and told me I looked a lot taller than she remem- bered. “Ma, you’re on the floor.” “Oh. It feels comfy though, you sure it’s the floor?” A Bat Mitzvah in Scarsdale, New York spurred her into major travel frenzy. She wanted desperately to go. “I have to go. I have to see Gertie. I have to go.” Gertie was her sister. Theirs was a relationship not dissimilar to Palestine and Israel. “I have to go. Don’t tell me I’m not going.” The thing about my mom, she was as stubborn as the day was long. God’s honest truth, sometimes it was really hard to tell if it was the dementia, or my mother just being herself. “Ma, I don’t think it’s a good idea, you traveling by yourself.” “Oh, really? Fine. I’ll drive to Gertie’s.” Having rammed her car into a fire hydrant – a glaring sign that she should never be behind the wheel ever again – “It came out of no where,” she said, “One minute I was sitting there, minding my own business, and the next minute, there it was, crossing the street.” What do you say? Really? “Ma, it can’t walk, a fire hydrant doesn’t walk.” Unbeknownst to us, my mother had an expired driver’s license. I worked it out so a car service (a very kind man who lived a few doors down from her) would come and pick her up, drop her off at the JetBlue Terminal, and make sure there was no seen or unfore- seen problems. I paid the guy to wait an extra half-hour. I called the airline, JetBlue, and spoke with a reservation agent, who had just the right combination of humor and sympathy and could not have been any more cordial or kind. She promised they would do whatever they could to accommodate my mom, but she needed to remind me that the plane was in fact full, and hopefully someone would be able to move if there was not a window seat available. I ask her if there is a ‘companion’ person – a representative – who can help my mom get settled. Help her with the boarding pass, and the other unexpected frustrations that may arise. Yes, she says,



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