As I knocked on mother's door, I could see that the kitchen light was off, coffee unmade and the kitchen chair standing propped against the doorknob. Annie was outside running around as usual, but not a peep from mother. Calling, and knocking, I could hear no reply. Just as I decided to head around to the front door to ring the doorbell, I heard a faint, "coming," from somewhere inside.
Last September, I recall the morning I came down to give mother her pills and something very similar with a different ending happened. I had knocked and knocked, called and called, but never an answer. I had made my way around to ring the doorbell but still no answer. I knew very well where the key to the front door was, but I could not bring myself to enter, fearing just what I might find. I hurried back to the car, got my cell phone and called mother's nephew Kenneth who lives just up the road to come assist me. When he arrived, he entered in and called to mother, still, no answer. I was helpless as I stood on the front porch and prayed. At last I could hear Kenneth talking to "Aunt Margie." I made my way back to her bedroom and found a near unresponsive mother lying on the bed, still in her nightgown. The EMS was summoned and she was taken to the hospital. It was found that she had a really bad urinary tract infection which landed her in the hospital for several days.
Today, I wait for her to open the door. I can see her hair and clothes are very unruly and think that she is going to have an interesting story to tell. "What were you doing?" I asked. "That 'old woman' was after my dogs again last night and I had to stay up most of the night making sure she didn't steal my last one." "She was turning her light on and off, telling me that she was up there and waiting to get my dogs." Trying to reassure her that she only has "one" dog and there was no "old woman" living near her, she became agitated to the point that I knew I just needed to listen and go along with her.
For some months now, mother thinks that there is an old woman who lives just up in the woods near her house who has been stealing her dogs, until she is just down to one. Mother says she has cages all around her house and her prized one is up there now, which as she tells it, has red and green on the back of it's neck. I like to refer to this one as the "Christmas dog." The whole family has sat tirelessly as mother tells of this old woman taking her dogs. She has asked time after time if she should call the police on her and I just reply that if she did the old woman might retaliate and poison one of her "imaginary" dogs or God forbid, cows! This seems to satisfy her and so far, she has not made a call to our local law enforcement concerning this "dog thief."
Mother spies her dog Annie frolicking on the back deck and says, "That Annie is having one more time out there!" No more than she has said this, she is asking me "whose dog is that?" I tell her it's Annie and she says "does she have mud on her?" I take a look out the kitchen window to see if Annie has possibly been rolling in the mud, but as I thought, she was as clean as a whistle, sitting there digging a flea. I said mother, Annie is brown and black and you can just see mostly brown since she's scratching. Still, mother will not believe that this is her dog Annie.
Knowing that eventually mother will forget all about last night's folly, and soon come to realize that the dog hanging around her house is indeed Annie, I head on off to work. I think to myself about how comfortable I am becoming with mother's actions. This realization in itself is very unsettling to me.