Friday, December 30, 2011

Thanks for the Hamburgers, Mitt Romney

One day when Neal came home from work--about four months after the stroke--he asked about my day, as usual: did anyone visit? Did anyone bring dinner? I said "yes" to both.

"Who brought it?" he asked.

I considered the question. I was very happy to see the woman who dropped off dinner. Often she and I used to walk back from dropping our sons off at school. Although I didn't know her well, I enjoyed her sense of humor. I used to know her name, her son's name, and her two-year-old daughter's name. Neal usually relied on my memory for names and faces. But we didn't have a back-up plan in case of aphasia. Now I tried to think about how to tell Neal who the woman was.

"Like Mitt Romney," I finally said. Neal looked surprised.

"Mitt Romney dropped off supper?" he asked.

"No, like Mitt Romney," I said.

"Was it a he or a she?" he asked.

"A man. No, I mean man. No. Woman."

"So... a woman dropped off supper?" he tried to confirm.


"Like Mitt Romney," he repeated it, puzzled. "This person.... was a politician?"


"This person... lived in Belmont?" he said hopefully.


"Is a Republican?"

"Yes! Probably," I said. Although that wasn't exactly what I wanted to say, probably there were about five Republican parents in our school district, so that narrowed down the field. "You met the guy," I  said. I hoped that Neal would remember he met the husband, and that they had a common acquaintance through Neal's work, and the coworker was Mormon.

"Oh," said Neal. "You mean ... that family, that's probably Mormon?"

I sighed with relief. At least one mystery--who brought dinner--was solved. Except that we still couldn't remember the woman's name that evening, I think, even between the two of us. Somehow I did convey that family was moving away, soon, and that I was sad to see them go.

Now I remember her name.

Amber, if you're out there, I miss you. The hamburgers were great.


  1. I loved the circumlocution. A great way to explain what goes on in a strokees head. Anything to help the future disabled understand us.

  2. Grace, I just loved this--believe it or not, it's the kind of thing that goes on between older couples all the time! You don't have to have had a stroke, just many years of knowing or having known "someone"--but who? And your dad and I use just about the same strategies to figure it out. love & chuckles, your mom.

  3. I love this! God, the mind is fascinating...the connections it makes.

  4. Last night Bob and I were talking about where we have spent previous new year's eves. We have never gone out very much and not only couldn't Bob help me remember the name of the restaurant we went to with certain friends, he could not even remember the event at all! I whipped out my phone and showed him your post and we both laughed -- you described such a similar conversation to the one we were having.

    Yup even between the two of us.. Bob and I are still in such trouble trying to get anything straight nowadays.

  5. Grace, I love this post and shared it again today--this time with a new patient who is aphasic and beginning to write with his nondominant left hand. He and his wife appreciated what you could put down in written form that would be more difficult to speak. Thanks so much for your great work. Rick Sanders