This has been a two day mystery, the name list. This is the list of her family members: children, grandchildren, great grandchildren. My sister wrote it a long time ago and it has been stuck into the frame of the hutch, but she wanted it down about a week ago, and I thought it should be within reach. I watched her stare at this list for a long time yesterday and then for a long time again today. At first I wondered if she was reading carefully and studying to memorize, frustrated with her forgetting. But her look didn’t look like the gaze of memorization, but of searching for something. This was as if there was a mystery she was trying to solve and I hung on, waiting for a question. If she could just figure out the question then I know I could easily answer it.
She does get one question out, she knows she has four children and she believes only three are listed. However , the list was organized by last name and one child has married and changed her name. I began to write a new list out for her: Children, Grandchildren, great grandchildren. As I did so, she says: “Angie…she’s an…outsider…” My gut tightened. All I could say was “Ummhumm.” as my head was telling my heart to not take it personal, my heart was breaking. Babu meant nothing by calling me an outsider. She couldn’t find a better word and used it without judgement. That stung, yes, I wont lie, but what killed me was that I was there and for that moment she didn’t know who I was. Will I be the first one she forgets?