On Saturday, Grandma was cursing the Almighty. Not a particularly unusual occurrence, of course. But this time she was reminded of some poetry, and her “God Almighty” turned into a mulling over of the phrase, “but it wasn’t the Almighty, who lifted her nighty…”
We spent some time trying to jog her memory for the rest of it, but to no avail.
On Sunday, Grandma was cursing the Almighty. And this time, the half-remembered adage came more clearly: “…but it wasn’t the Almighty, who lifted her nightie – it was Roger the Lodger, the sod!”
Oh ho, Roger the Lodger! The sod! A google search came up with the rest of the dear limerick.
There was a young girl of Cape Cod
Who thought all babies came from God,
But ’twas not The Almighty
Who lifted her nightie,
But Roger the lodger, the sod!
Dementia wreaks havoc on the lives of those who suffer from it and those who try to manage it, but it has these moments of loveliness. These scraps of a person’s history, that may otherwise be left in the recesses of memory as pointless information, float to the surface, clear and suddenly relevant. Grandma detests looking at old photographs, or talking about “ancient history,” – partly because so many of the people in those memories are already gone, but also I think because she cannot recall things when she wants to. But through her bawdy and sometimes poignant poetry I can see glimmers of her younger, cheekier self. I have learnt to hang on to these bits and pieces, understanding them as precious mementos that perhaps I myself will begin muttering, when my capacity to make sense of the present is removed from me. They are little spoken portraits that capture moments of humour and humanity. Grandma’s ability to live life with independence and her idea of dignity is all but gone, but we were both reminded that her mind and spirit are still there – clouded and cobwebbed, but there. And all thanks to Roger the lodger, the sod!