It Just Takes One Word to Make a Conversation: An Unexpected Halloween Treat

On my mother’s last Halloween, her memory care unit held a party. Pam, the nurse, brought a basket brimming with hats, shawls, and scarves. Pam set a floppy white hat on Mom’s silvery curls and draped a lacy purple shawl over her shoulders.  In her new adornments, Mom looked both puzzled and happy.

But during the “treat” portion of the Halloween celebration, which featured M&M’s and chocolate chip cookies, Mom’s smile was unambiguous.  All her life, Mom had adored sweets and her Alzheimer’s had not dimmed her enjoyment.

Then small children paraded through the facility, dressed as princesses, witches, super heroes, and ghosts. Volunteers handed the residents wrapped tootsie rolls.

“For the children,” they said.

Mom smiled at the adorable kitty cats and pirates who chanted “Trick or treat,” in wispy voices, but she did not relinquish her hold on the sweets; she did not share her candy.

“Mom, would you like to give the children some of your candy?” I asked as my mother gripped her treasure.

“No,” she said.

No. The word floated through my mind and I gazed at Mom, my mouth open, my mind euphoric. Perhaps I should have been chagrined at her selfishness but instead I was thrilled that she had actually responded to my question. It was the closest we’d come to conversation in weeks. I laughed with delight. Mom laughed.

For that moment, we were two women, simply laughing. For me, it was a most wondrous and unexpected treat.




                                   Q 4 U:       

Please share one of your unexpected treats.


  1. Vicki Stoecklin on October 29, 2013 at 4:44 pm


  2. Alexis Preston on November 9, 2013 at 1:05 pm

    This one reminded me of my mom. After not speaking anything intelligible for over two years, she was having a day where she was not particularly happy with her nurses. I knew she was out of sorts, but suddenly, as clear as can be, she said, “Go to Hell.” It surprised me because this was something I had NEVER heard her say. Her eyes flew wide open, partially because she had gotten words out, and partially, I think, because she said something she considered to be “naughty.” We all laughed. Ok, it may not have been the words I longed to hear, but they were a precious treat to me.

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