Dementia Is Her Art Form
She’s at six going on seven of the stages. Requiring 24-hour care. If you know her, you know she is a fighter. DNR is not a thing, even as fragile is her frame. We tell her we love her without knowing if she hears. She talks at times without knowing we are oblivious to her meaning. Remember the times? The Connie moments? The care she took of Mama? The debates? I mean .. arguments? All the time? That lasted minutes, hours, days?
I’ve learned of her childhood, her challenges, her achievements, her pains. Reasoning the whys. But we cannot know everything. And all we need to know Love did let her show us. If you know her, you must love her. No matter what you’ve been through with her. Or else you are not a Believer. Her mental illness made you laugh at her, made me yell back at her, made her love us all the more. Give you her shirt off her back. Take your shit and not give it back. But this perfect child of God did not inherit disease. It was a loan for living her life. We couldn’t fathom, we couldn’t see. She’s been trying to tell us things. We’ve been refusing to discern. Hearing not this caged bird. Instead burdening her with stigmatic beliefs. Doing our best to blame her. But her life is about this: Her beloved HBCU. Her birthday. Her own voice. Her own beliefs. Her own fears and disbeliefs and conspiracy theories. Her dog Jackie and those white cats under the car. Her little house in Oak Cliff. Her choices.
She leaned on and she stood by Bishop College. To be unwed and unborned, and unfully realized. So fucking unfair! However, she is here forever. She is still here for now.
If you have ever known her. She is safe and in bed, awake and alive. Hanging in there. Right now. The Black Pearl of this family. Keep saying her name not just her but for me. My mother’s only sister, my only auntie. Gentle reminder: she is Connie Faye.
Anyone can teach you about love. I can make you good at it!
| Original photo & prose by Jackie Rockwell |All Rights Reserved © 2008-2021 |