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.