bitter & sweet

Long time visitors to this humble blog may recall a post from 2 Thanksgivings ago in which I wrote about The Geek’s mom and her struggle with Alzheimer’s. Considering the state of things at that time, I’m surprised it’s taken this long to get here, but here we are.

Things have gone downhill, as we knew they would. She no longer drives. She is afraid to go to bingo because she thinks she won’t remember the numbers. Bookwork that she has done for over 25 years mystifies her. She will mention the same thing to you 5 times in 2 hours, and have no idea that she has done that. You will also have to tell her the same thing 5 times in 2 hours, because she won’t remember the first 4 times.

She knows us though. And so it’s time for me to write this, the things that I remember, so that she can read it when she forgets.

Her name is Darlyne, but everyone, even her son,  calls her Dar. Her husband (and The Geek’s dad) is named Gary – they are known by all as Gar and Dar.

The first time I met her, in 1987,  she was worried about dinner. At the time I was a vegetarian. I think she’d made pasta of some sort. We had a lovely time and I think I passed muster – I’m still here.

My husband is an only child, and his mother was quite pleased to get a daughter in the bargain when we got married. She loves to pet my hair and hug me, which I allow despite coming from a family of non-huggers. Now she pets the Girl Child, too.

When we got engaged, we picked up the ring on the same day as her birthday dinner at Benihana. I flashed the ring and I think it was the best birthday present ever. I was worried about the whole wedding thing – who was going to pay for this shindig? His parents to the rescue, the first of MANY times that would happen. She was so pleased to get to invite all the friends whose offsprings’ weddings she had gone to.

For their 35th wedding anniversary, we threw a surprise dinner for them at the Pink Door. My friend Katie designed lovely invitations, one of which is now framed and hangs in their house.

When I was pregnant with our first child, we told them that we had decided on guardians. Our friends Margo and Nicole lived in town at the time and we were close. The fact that they were a gay couple didn’t even faze my in-laws. They trust our judgement, they said. I was so proud of them for that. Not everyone’s parents would have agreed.

Our friend Robert, who has his own struggles with his family, has always been accepted into ours. He came with us for Christmas a couple times, the most recent two years ago. Dar was so pleased to see him and welcome him.

Bobby in the snow
Bobby in the snow

Dar enjoys meeting and talking to people of all kinds. It generally takes her at least an hour to leave a place after first announcing that she is leaving. You need to plan ahead for this.

She puts up with my complete and utter lack of housekeeping skills and/or interest. Never a criticizing word, and considering that she irons EVERYTHING, this is quite something. I think she must know that my talents lie elsewhere.

Gar & Dar enjoy a cocktail. It’s often the first thing they will ask if you come to visit, a trait I appreciate. After a few cocktails, you will get to hear good stories, sometimes involving Agnes and her friend. I am pretty sure these ladies do not exist but the stories are good nonetheless.

They’ve always enjoyed meeting all of our friends and often ask about them. Dar is famous for sending birthday cards and anniversary cards. The remembering part is trickier now. Just today she asked for my parents’ address – to send them an anniversary card, I’m sure.

The Rosens, 1997. Allie's first dinner party.
The Rosens, 1987. Allie’s first dinner party.

Dar is infamous for taking photos at family gatherings. People grumble and she says “you’ll thank me someday”. Someday soon, no doubt.

Her generosity (and Gar’s) are off the charts. I can’t tell you the number of times they have helped us out, no questions asked, with time and money, especially when it comes to running the bar. We literally could not do it without them. There is nothing they would not do for us, and it is humbling. I am pretty sure we do not deserve it.

It’s a struggle, this. For Dar, but also Gar. We can’t fix it. Nothing makes it better. The memories are sweet, but bitter when you can’t quite reach them anymore. So we will do it for her.

Much love to Gar and Dar.

Our best employees.
Our best employees.

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