My husband and I recently retraced the steps of a vacation from 18 years ago, made to Washington, DC just days after my diagnosis of MS. It was an emotional visit flooded with tender memories. One thing we hoped to do was to tour the White House. We contacted our congressman months in advance, to no avail. We weren’t on the ‘It’ list. We would have to use our active imaginations, Google photos, and friends’ stories to enjoy the experience vicariously.
Little did I know I was about to get a firsthand account of someone’s personal tour to the White House, including a personal meeting with the First Lady at the end of the tour! I was impressed.
This precious person was accompanying her spouse on a business trip and found herself without anything to do one day during the trip. She received that unexpected call: Would you like to see the White House? Of course her answer was yes. She gave general details of what a magnificent and stately mansion it is, so ornate, everything I had imagined. It was an exhaustive tour, not just covering ten rooms or so as I had imagined ours would be.
The consummation came when her tour guide asked if she would like to meet Mrs. Obama. She was overcome with excitement, as she had never met a First Lady. Mrs. Obama was just as gracious and lovely as she had always heard. It was a brief meeting but certainly one she will remember the rest of her life.
When my mother shared this story yesterday of her recent trip, she commented that not everyone believed her. In fact, some people said she was making it up. I assured her I did not think she was making it up at all.
Alzheimer’s can bring some lovely, joyful things it you live in the grey areas instead of black and white. My mom genuinely believes she experienced this. I shared her joy and exuberance. My mind can’t begin to fill in details like that. Don’t misunderstand me, I understand the medical reason behind the situation. If you have a loved one with dementia, embrace the joy when you find it.
And if you see Mrs. Obama, please tell her my mom says hello.