Yesterday was what we’ve taken to calling “a sleepy day,” so my usual call with Maga wasn’t able to happen. In the midst of unpacking and chatting with Sister J, I missed the text from Caregiver M letting me know “[my] Maga was up,” but when I saw it 12 minutes later, I scrambled to switch phone partners. A little do si do and a promise to let Sister J know when I was done so she could fill Maga’s dance card next.

The phone rang and rang. Another text from CM appeared: “Hi. She is talking to your mom.” Upon which I immediately texted my mom asking her to let me know when she was done, so I didn’t miss another chance to chat.

Imagine my surprise when my phone rang a minute later with Maga’s number lighting up my phone.

“Hello?” I said.

“Hi, Abby, dear,” Maga said.

“You sound awake and alert!”

“I try to be.”

Munching noises ensued. “Dinner,” Maga said.

“That’s great,” I said. “You having an appetite.”

More munching noises.

“She’s very focused on eating,” CM said.

“Appears so!”

The munching slowed, so I tried some questions. “Did you have snow or sunshine today?”

“No,” Maga said.

“Tomorrow’s New Year’s Eve. Will you stay up until midnight?”


“Did you ever host a NYE party at your house?”


I repeated myself changing a few words (NYE –> holiday, party –> neighbors) to help lower my tone so she could hear me.


“[Caregiver M??]” Maga cried.

CM’s voice crept closer. She too attempted to get my point across, but to no avail.

“I don’t know what’s what,” Maga said.

“That’s okay. I often don’t either. But listen, I’m going to let you go and once we hang up, [Sister J] is going to call you. That way you won’t be alone for dinner. Is that okay?”


CM explained the situation. I explained the situation again. I stayed on the line because she didn’t seem convinced of anything and I didn’t like ending the call on that note.

“Hello?” Maga said.

“I’m still here.”


She continued her laser focus on her turkey sandwich. I attempted a joke about potato chips. It fell flat.

After 5 weeks of 24/7 company, I was now 100% isolated, so I was more than content to continue the “conversation” whether she was talking, whether she understood, or whether she was quiet, but her alert and awake hours are precious and I was conscious of Sister J wanting to chat…I tried again to explain that I was going to hang up, but that Sister J would call next, so she’d have company.

“Whatever you want,” Maga said.

I smiled (sadly) at her sharp, short tone. Her memory was flickering in and out and the only thing that continued to make sense was the turkey sandwich. I’m just glad I got to share some space with it, and her.

“I love you, Maga,” I said.

“I love you too.”

1 thought on “12.30.20”

  1. I want you to know I am always here for a chat over turkey sandwiches. Or whatever you have in your fridge. Sending hugs.

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